Becoming Mexican is heading to Austin! On Wednesday, May 22 there will be an exhibition opening party and panel discussion featuring some of the individuals profiled in the project. While I feel like the project is still in its infancy, I’m excited to share it with a new audience and take the opportunity to gather new material.
Four conversations in, and I feel like Becoming Mexican is starting to take shape. I’ve learned so much about the amazing individuals highlighted in Conversations and am thankful for all the time and enthusiasm they have given to the project. The interview with Jennifer Bolanos was a special one for me because, as I mentioned in the intro, I don’t think this project would exist without her influence on my life. Interviewing Justin Garcidiaz was a blast. He’s hilarious and his thoughtful approach to shaping identity motivates me to keep learning and pursuing my heritage. Also, who can say no to rooftop cocktails in the sunshine?
A few other noteworthy items:
1. I had the opportunity recently to visit the Hallie Ford Museum and see the Enrique Chagoya exhibition ‘Reverse Anthropology’. He mixes American pop culture, pre-Columbia mythology, and Western religious iconography to reexamine culture and inheritance. Specifically, his works ‘Borderlandia’ and ‘Illegal Alien’s Guide to Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ were poignant and felt especially relevant given the current political climate. On display until January 27.
2. Spanish. The studying continues. I know I’m probably learning a lot, but don’t often have the chance to practice. That will change soon with my upcoming travels.
3. Countdown to Mexico City! So excited to be in CDMX in a few weeks and I’ve been receiving amazing recommendations. More are always welcome as I’m sure this first trip to the capital won’t be the last!
The first interview is live! I’m excited to share the story of Marcus Mejia of Bad Hombre Wines. We had such a fun time talking about what it’s like to grow up half Mexican in rural Oregon and the struggle to learn Spanish beyond the required high school classes. Read more over in the ‘Conversations’ section.
In other news, I’ve been able to interview some incredible people over the last few weeks and have more conversations to share soon. I’ve been studying Spanish almost daily with Duolingo and booked a trip to Mexico City in December.
On a personal note, I’ve enjoyed connecting with people of Mexican heritage about the project, but people from a variety of backgrounds also have identified with Becoming Mexican. I’ve chatted with people from Korean, Filipino, Malaysian, African-American backgrounds and hear similar stories of the ‘betweeness’ that being mixed race often entails.
Thank you for following the project. More to come soon!
Thank you for visiting! I’m excited to launch Becoming Mexican, a project that explores heritage and cultural identity. I invite you to join along as I document the journey of discovering my roots and forging a connection with my ancestral homeland. Maybe I’ll even finally learn Spanish along the way.
I’m starting by sitting down with people of Mexican heritage that live in my immediate community of Portland, Oregon to hear about their background, their relationship with their heritage, and to see what role being Mexican plays (or not) in their daily life.
If I’ve learned anything in my life, it’s that race is loaded. I hope this journey sheds a few rays of light on the experience of second-, third-, fourth-generation immigrants and the sometimes complicated, sometimes vague relationship we can have with our roots. We live in the now, but the way we look and feel is often informed by a past that isn’t directly ours. I want to claim some of that past for myself and examine how having a stronger connection to that past will shape my future.
Photograph taken for a project with Vía Raíz.