Mixed is a project about the lives and experiences of people who have grown up in a family that perhaps surprises others. The images present different familly members, a parent, a child, a sibling or a grandparent all of whom are related. My aim is to show how society is evolving and changing, and how as it does we are all encouraged to think differently. Whilst the differences are seen on the surface through skin colour, I believe the real changes are more than skin deep and that in effect we are witnessing a coming together not only of cultures, but class, religion and genealogy. I am in a mixed relationship and together with my partner we have three children who I belive represent this aspect of a changing society. The work is currently being shown 20 September 2017 – 25 May 2018, at the Migration Museum, London. No Turning Back: Seven Migration Moments that Changed Britain.
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Daughter & Mother, Emilia & Laverne
Emilia: My mother’s family are black Caribbean, my father’s are white British. My dual heritage has always been synonymous with ambiguity. It has met strangers with both the inability and the apparent need to place me - my ethnic identity often seeming far more important to them than it did to me. It has meant, amongst many things: confusion and frustration - at the lack of people who look like my mum in my school, university and social life; amazing holidays - to Wiltshire, home of my paternal grandparents, and to St Vincent, home of my maternal ones; and also a strange, perhaps misplaced, pride that I take in being part of a mixed race family, making that forever asked question - where do you come from? - not always such a chore to answer after all.
Laverne: Identity is personal, precious and self defined and should not be assumed. I hope that these photographs inspire curiosity about the lives and relationships of the people in them and perhaps challenge the assumptions that we all sometimes make.
Mother and two daughters, Angela
Angela: I was brought up with a white Yorkshire mum and a black St Lucian stepdad. I loved that I had access to both cultures, although sometimes I felt like I didn’t belong in either. I want my children to know more about their history, our history, but I don’t think they feel as connected as I did as they are pale skinned and straight haired, you wouldn’t always know they were mixed race. Growing up in multi cultured London means they don’t feel as different as I did growing up in a predominantly white area in the north of England.
Missie: I don’t even think about it, I just wish I had curly hair like my mummy’s
Tallulah: If anything, my mixed race heritage gives me a sense of belonging. When we were studying the slave trade and the civil rights movement in History, it was rather interesting knowing that my ancestors were on both sides of the story and although I’m biologically more white, I feel equally connected to both sides of my heritage. It’s nice to know that I’m part of two different cultures.
Grandmother & Grandson, Susan & Joseph
Susan: "I was born in Ansty, Wiltshire, I am very proud of my wonderful grandson.”
Joseph: “Being mixed race is something I will always be proud of, and I have always felt comfortable in my own skin. My mum is black English, with black Caribbean parents, and my dad is white English. I have never felt closer to one than the other and I feel fortunate to have been exposed to two very different cultures in my family.”
Mother & Daughter, Mari & Isabella
Isabella: ‘I am mixed race, so what? I have never felt excluded because of my skin colour’.
Mari: “Everyone always thought I was the nanny”
Son, Father, Son. Tyger, Dennis, Theo
Tyger: "It's calm cos you get the best of both worlds a black community and a white one”
Mother & Son, Jeanette & Bradley
Brad: I am all of my mother and all of my father. Being mixed-race is deeply personal, to me; not political. I embrace all aspects of my English and Jamaican heritage...and have created an identity which isn’t specifically like either. Fully mixed!!
Jeanette: I try not to see colour and treat people, as people.
Father & Son, Trevor & Adrian
Trevor: born in Portland jamaica some 60yrs ago! Came to U.K. In 1966, I have always maintained keen interest in sport participation from athletics to football and squash. I've always been a good competitor, in the early days advancement opportunities were far and few because of certain barriers. i.e ( in football I was Butch Wilkins captain) we both got scouted together as 13 year olds. The rest is history. Squash the individual sport saw me excel to national senior levels, still faced barriers. Exceeded into coaching so I was able aid Adrians Sqash career, again history kicks in. I stil play and enjoy squash and choose my coaching jobs national & internationally which is quiet satisfying
Adrian: "I'm proud of my mixed raced heritage and see myself very lucky being exposed to different cultures through my upbringing. Though in younger years i was curious as to what my identity was..... Through society and the feeling of being pigeon holed. My parents were my backbone and influencers that changed my mind set. Since then I'm more comfortable in my own skin and privileged to be in my position and how I see the the world and people”
Daughter & Mother, Summer & Jane
Summer: growing up as mixed race has its pros and cons.
cons - being identified as too black or too white
pros - experiencing two massively different cultures throughout my life.
Jane: I’m white British and was born in the North of England and from the age of seven I lived in the midlands in a small little village.
I moved to London in my mid twenties and met the father of my three children when I was thirty, he is black British, both his parents were originally from Jamaica.
As a white mother to mix race children, I am aware I wont experiences the same as they will in life due to their race, but I listen,support and learn through their experiences.
We talk about race a lot in our house,and about our different identities.My children do identify with both aspects of their background but mainly adopt the black culture and identity over their white background.
Mother & Son, Lisa & Gary
Lisa: My early school years were made made up of a mixture of cultures. One of my best friends in junior school was of Indian heritage. I played and mixed with everyone growing up. It was not common to have mixed race kids then. However, two boys who lived a few doors down from me growing up were! Colour was not an issue to me.
I became a young mother to my son whose father is of Grenadian heritage. I found that this brought our family cultures closer together and gave a richness to his life
80s child! Being of mixed heritage and growing up in London brought many rewards and challenges. One of the rewards has been the food! I am a descendent of young parents, a Caribbean father and a Caucasian mother.
The 80s for me was all about fluorescent colours, bad hair and terrible music. Colour was never an issue in my childhood on either side of the family, despite being a pioneer! Many have since followed.
In my teens, I recognised more mixed heritage people and learned more about my family tree. Travelling the world I’ve met a wide variety of people from different cultures and mixed heritages but they all have one thing in common, underneath they’re all just people.
My social circle is like the Olympic Rings… there’s only a few of us and we’re all different colours!