For those of you who don't know where I'm from- I was born in Durban, Kwa-Zulu Natal. I lived some of my childhood, in a small town in the Hluhluwe Game Reserve and then pretty much grew up in beautiful, Cape Town, South Africa with the exception of a short time in my dads home town Johannesburg, Gauteng. I am South African Portuguese with Mauritius and Dutch heritage as well. I know little to nothing of my Dutch roots apart from that my grandad on my mum's side was Dutch and I know of its colonialist impact on South Africa and Apartheid and the slave trade. I know a little more about my Mauritius roots (on my mum's side)- we ate curries at Christmas and our take on Mauritian street food- Gato piments, which we stuffed with chicken and call "Murrinut", but I probably have more Portuguese-South African quirks. I attempted to learn the language but embraced my European roots in other ways such as enjoying bacalao (salt cod) at my dad's friends house one Christmas, and those lunchtimes eating peri-peri chicken livers with Portuguese rolls and tinned-sardine sandwiches. As children, we spent a fair bit of time around my dad's Portuguese friends and picked up on many a swear word dropped in their conversations, like merde (shit).
Growing up, we didn't have a lot of money, but we lived a simple life always surrounded by nature. Our garden in Hluhluwe was full of papaya (paw paw- South Africa) and we lived across from a pineapple farm. My dad owned a grocer where my sister and I liked to play. We had wild rabbits, dogs, birds, and a tortoise for pets and we rehomed stray cats all the time. We also loved catching giant locusts in jars! As children we played near the water's edge where hippos and crocodiles weren't too far away. We looked forward to adventures into the game reserve with my dad in his "jalopie" AKA jeep. We had such an exciting childhood. When we moved near the coast, we were either climbing mountains, catching fish and frogs, going rock pooling, or heading to the flea-markets and second-hand shops and antique stores for a bargain- My love for the outdoors, nature, animals and giving old things a new life came from my childhood. This is how I keep my heritage and things that make me, alive. I think what I'm trying to say is; If we dig further back into our traditions and quirks we will find something that makes up our design because culture and diversity are important for enriching our lives. Learn to appreciate culture and traditions from all over the world. Have conversations with people, learn from them, and in turn teach someone something. This is what makes our world so beautiful and so great. Immerse yourself in people and their traditions when you travel. Get in touch with that long lost relative and have those conversations. Have those conversations with friends! Culture is the very fabric of our world.
During my travels to Gambia, Northern Africa it made me miss home. And so, I think my bold, colourful painting style is an expression of home in a way and everything that makes me.
I hope I get to learn something about your culture and heritage!
Let your culture and your history inspire you and let it teach you and become a better human being because of it.