You are not who they say you are

The more multi-cultural our world, the more we are defined by our human essence

We often define ourselves based on the way others see us. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We are not our nationality, or our skin colour, or our job title. We are a human essence. The more multi-cultural our world, the less we will be defined by our outer traits, and the more we will be acknowledged to be our most inner, essential self, writes Janne Teller.

 

When I first saw the French-Moroccan artist Yasmina Bouziane’s self-portrait as a modern Beduin photographer (‘Native Photographing, the signature picture, Reluctantly Untitled #6’), it instantly struck me  how the photo regarded me just as well. In her staged hand Yasmina’s lense takes aim at the audience, the camera is turned 180 degrees: The art sees the one who sees.

All the while I was contemplating a humorous, identity-exploring, modern colonial portrait, I myself turned into nothing but someone watching that very photo watching me. I must assume that the photo’s fram

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Pamela Meekings-Stewart 6 August 2021

Kia ora. On the very day you posted this article, I was explaining to a friend my new name and way of being and inviting her to join. My new name is Nola Bel. my male friends have taken the name Noel Abel. We have chosen to discard our labels (or at least are working hard to do so!) and ask to be defined only by our qualities. I have been Nola Bel for about 3 months and am excited by the conversations. I am finding that far from having to give up my strong multicultural identities (New Zealander/Druid/Scottish) I am now comfortable to ask about the 'is' of others' cultural norms while celebrating our shared essence. Arohanui

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