August 9, 2019

How strong is the need for labeling?

Zuzanna Salamon, 21

I have many labels. Some of them I like, to some of them I can’t still get used to, there are some I’m still not aware of. Most of them appear because of the questions.
“Where are you originally from?”, “Do you miss home?”, “Which country do you prefer?”. Trying to answer one of these questions usually begins a story.

Foreignness was known to me since childhood. I was surrounded by foreign products, by labels in a language I couldn’t understand. I was watching people with different skin colour on the TV screen. Photographs from around the world could be grasped by me through computers. Tables full of foreign products, that became inherit part of the national identity and culture of another. I didn’t feel a need to label myself- I feel like just part of the world. But labels also gave me the security and sense of belonging, even though I didn’t choose some of them.
My origin is important to me, it shaped who am I. But the sense of belonging to a nation can be best portrayed only through the individual experience and it’s possible to have in a heart more than just a one.

I’m good at foreignness—I learnt it as a child., 2019Oil paint on canvas, tartan fabric120x90