I Found a Place investigates my supposed ethnicity used as a constant explanation for my racial identity. Racial and ethnic identity are themes that I have tackled in my practice for some time now. In this project, I explore my understanding of my Trinidadian culture from an outsider’s perspective. Reflecting a lack of experience resulting from the culture not being something my family prominently practised in my home while growing up. However, it is a part of my heritage that I must explore as I am often the object of curiosity due to my ambiguous identity. In my house, there are objects that I grew up thinking represented my Trinidadian culture when, in reality, they hold a false connection to a place. They are merely trinkets from an outsider and differ from what I thought they represented.
Through this project, I investigate the significance and falsehood of the objects’ that I have connections to that also universally represent racist and exoticized stereotypes that tourist consumerism feeds into. To address these object’s lack of place I brought them into the studio, a maker’s space, to create a context to analyze and decipher a place for them within my current life, while simultaneously investigating my place within my Trinidadian culture.
Gesture is incorporated through video and portraiture to lay claim to objects and culture. Through the use of these image-making processes, they emphasize feelings of awkwardness and uncertainty through my placement of the objects.
By interacting with and identifying these objects as significant or insignificant, I extend a home to them while pointing out their racist tropes. I Found a Place shows the process of investigating my cultural identity through the items that have mislead me in my pursuit. I attempt to broaden my understanding of identity and what it looks like and show how one represents themselves within their identity.