When I first arrived in New Zealand, as a South African, Indian, one thing stood out with my experience at High School. Which was the shame and embarrassment I felt when I brought out my banana curry sandwiches my mother had made for me like she usually does. “What’s that in your bread?” A friend said to me. Its banana curry, I replied back to her.
So it wasn’t too long for me to hear other people’s stories of assimilating into a new culture, and a sense of uncertainty we feel about our own identity. This inspired me to share this side of our new kiwi culture with the rest of Auckland through a series of photography portraits at Studio One Gallery. The duality that many of us with diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds experience on a day to day basis is not news to us, but may in fact be news to many other kiwis. Where we feel like we come from one country, but do not necessarily always feel like we easily fit in, in our new country. And where home is? Well, that’s never going to be a one word answer.
The reason behind this exhibition was also my attempt of making a statement to the undertones of racism that us immigrants, and children of immigrants face when we get asked that very question. Although we love talking about where our roots are, and how we are different, it can be a little tiring sometimes, to constantly attach a smile to our answer, when some people don’t believe that we could come from a different country but speak fluent English with a kiwi accent.
This journey of sharing stories from people that I know will hopefully leave people thinking about our immigrants, and our children of immigrants in a more wholesome and inclusive way. There will never be a box that we fit into. But our differences make us beautiful, from head to toe.