As a melanin-rich English male I am often classified in a way that means I never belong. When I’m in England I am not English, my Jamaican heritage defines me. In Jamaica I don’t belong, my English culture defines me. In Singapore I cannot be English because my hair defines me. In Dubai “You are African, English people are White” My pre-colonial ancestory defines me. Who is the real me?
Although the stimulus for this project was prompted by the question “Where are you from?” The actual stimulus is the response upon hearing that I am English… “oh!”. In that subtle and somewhat abstract phoneme, a world of unspoken meaning exists. An identity fractures, or is all identity the accumulation of many parts. Culture becomes only skin deep, failing to account for the soul. Until it is appropriated or colonised.
Black Other explores how it feels to constantly be that “oh!” to others, whilst also seeking to understand one’s true place in the world. A conversation on how it feels on the inside to be a perennial outsider.
belonging to or denoting any human group having dark-coloured skin, especially of African or Australian Aboriginal ancestry.
view or treat (a person or group of people) as intrinsically different from and alien to oneself.
“And the sooty details of the scene rose, thrusting themselves between the world and me...”