October 22, 2018

Can we understand ourselves better through a clash of privileges?

Sophie Vallance


For three years, I lived away from the UK, in Berlin, Germany, with my husband Douglas. Douglas is Colombian, and we moved because we didn’t have enough money to qualify for the UK spouse visa. In this pressured moment we both struggling to adjust, we felt trapped in a place neither of us called home, quickly we realised new aspects of our relationship and of ourselves. Both of us young artists, we began to notice the differences in the way we encountered the world and the world encountered us and our work, because of our gender, our race, and our status as immigrant or expat. Through discussion, listening, questioning and painting we have learned to better understand our own and each other’s positions, especially the ability to acknowledge the existence of our privileges, and how they can exist in tandem alongside oppressions in the experiences of the same person. We have become even stronger allies despite not sharing the same experience of the world. ‘Bread and butter’ is a superstitious blessing, often said by young couples walking together when they are forced to separate by something such as a pole or oncoming person. By saying the phrase, any misfortune of letting anything come between them is averted.

“Bread and Butter”
Oil on Canvas


For more of Sophie’s work, visit: www.sophievallance.com.