I’m from Minneapolis, Minnesota. My family originally hails from different parts of Mexico. My parents came in the ’80s. My mother was around eighteen years old, as old as I am today. My dad actually went to high school in Texas, but he grew up in Mexico as well. I think it became really apparent that my parents were from somewhere else when we were adjusting the American holidays to accommodate Mexican traditions, and vice versa. My parents split time between traditions. They definitely brought religion with them — they are both Catholic. They also brought language; I’m fluent in Spanish.
My experience with my heritage has greatly influenced my art. It has created a unique lens for me to see through. I think that knowing my parents’ story has caused me to pay more attention to other people’s stories that are under-represented. It’s made me a more compassionate person, which I hope is shown in my art. I feel like there is a duality in my life growing up that has really affected me and this shows in my work as well.
My family is from all over the place. My dad is from Kuwait, but his parents are Indian. My mother is from Venezuela, but her parents are Chinese. They both came here for college. I was actually born in Oxford and moved back to the U.S. Most of my cultural childhood experiences came from my dad’s Malayali culture, which is Kerala in South India. I started to learn Malayalam when I was young, which is the language spoken there, but I lost it all.
On my mother’s side, my grandmother is very… well, she’s not very accepting of Chinese culture. I think it’s because the China that she knows now she thinks is a “communist hellhole”, in her words. She also thinks that Lake Superior is the Mississippi River, so she’s been in survival mode since she got here. Most of my Chinese culture come from holidays and food, but not a whole lot beyond that.