Who I Am and Who You See

University essay from Konstfack/Ädellab

Abstract: Now and then other people’s comments and/or behaviour reminds me that I look different and that my external features are connected to something beyond my Swedish identity. My black hair, dark brown eyes and my brownish skin color talk about something else. My appearance is connected to an identity, cultural identity and a country I have little knowledge of and a language I do not master. But still the way I look is a part of my heritage, a part of who I am and a part of me which I am proud of. It makes me wonder what actually makes up an identity and the power we all possess in deciding what or who another person is based on appearance. What do we become in the eyes of the beholder? Personal experiences from being Swedish, and adopted from another country, becomes the starting point for my investigation where the color of the skin leads to questions about norms, categorisations and the power of labelling another person. Living in the western world, my skin color automatically place me outside the norm. In a way that amazes me, that a single color can determine so much. As a jeweller maker in this degree project I make brooches. I use them as a method and as tools to both investigate the relationship between personal and social identity and to shed light on how structures in society and other peoples gazes push us into categories consciously and unconsciously. I use my objects as conversations pieces to reflect on history, present and future, from my perspective. There is always a beginning, but it is  in the middle of the process it all comes alive. This is where I explore material, techniques and methods and where the brooches are born. They all have a history and part of it is public. At first sight you see the surface. But the brooches are like our bodies, they also have an inside/backside which creates an intimate relationship with the wearer. The brooches are more than ornamented pins, I want them to raise awareness of diversity, different perspectives, care and their ability to communicate as they move through various places attached in different ways to the body. My degree project, Who I am and who you see, touches upon questions and emotions about belonging, inclusion and exclusion and the state of being in-between. What makes up an identity? What different parts make up a whole? Which layers are added and which are peeled off? All these questions triggers my curiosity and search for more knowledge about the human being and being human.

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