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Skin-deep, 2017

My project abstractly reflects a struggle with racial identity and a sense of otherness. Growing up, I have been teased and questioned about my family specifically, my sisters. My sisters and I all share the same mom but a different dad which makes us all look very diverse; I am Hispanic while both of my sisters are Afro-Latina. I happen to be the lightest in my family which has often caused me to look like the odd one out, creating this feeling of being “less ethnic” because I don’t share the same features as them. In school and even in public, people have blatantly pointed out the differences between my sisters and I: “Are you adopted? But she’s black and you’re white? Are you lying?” Now that I have matured, I understand the constant questioning although, when I was younger I could not comprehend this. These were my sisters who I grew up with like any other family so why were we constantly under interrogation? This was something I’ve mainly struggled with as a child but it still caused me to pick apart myself as I grew up. In reality it had nothing to do with me but rather what these experiences said about society, how people view race. I felt forced to question who was I and where I fit in culturally. A lack of family history and education when it comes to defining race, nationality, and ethnicity confused me even more. The use of ink drawings in this series adds to the contrast of skin colors and the chaotic factor that I have felt while people picked apart the differences between my siblings and I.

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