Kelly H.

Budding Illustrator + Designer

18

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Tree of My Life

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                                               A quick/rough sketch I came up with!

I have been privileged and blessed to have been able to live in three countries before the age of 30. I was born in South Africa, where I lived until I was 10 years old. I was then raised in the United States, and moved to Australia in 2014 with my husband to begin our lives here. I have so many different cultural identities, as I feel a sense of pride of being South Africa, as well as American - and even Australia, despite living here for only 9 months. 

I immediately thought of a tree - with the roots being in South Africa. No matter where we may travel or live in the world, I will always identify my roots and self as South African; it anchors my beliefs and culture, and because I still have lots of family there, I feel a strong sense of community and ties back to it. It keeps me grounded!

The trunk of the tree represents how the tree has grown - spurting up from the ground and its foundation (roots) into an adult tree. It is a stronghold and what people tend to see first (the way I talk, what I talk about - how people identify me). Because I spent the latter part of my childhood and all of my adulthood up until now in the U.S., it's what I also identify with: its food, places I've lived, societal norms/characteristics, etc. People will hear my American accent and that's what they see first (very much like how we see the trunk of a tree), but underneath (the foundation), I'm still South African!

One of the branches of the tree is labeled Australia - symbolizing how I have moved from the trunk outwards into different places. I'm able to be in a different part of the world, bearing fruit, and although I'm in a new country, I am still part of the roots and the trunk! I labeled the other branches with question marks - not knowing where the road will lead us next, but are open to anywhere! But wherever we go, (as my favorite quote says...) we'll bloom where we are planted! :)

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