Crossing Identities is a Berlin Senate sponsored art project for the 50th jubilee of the partner cities Los Angeles and Berlin. I spent over a month in L.A. for this art project which is a personal journey into my immigrant roots. I always felt I grew up as a cultural schizophrenic, acting one way in my parent’s world and another way when I stepped outside to take part in larger german society. I also realized, that this practice made me more empathetic toward people who are different. The mirrors and reflective surfaces I use, merge different layers into a whole new imagery world in my photographs. The imagery I create, is not replicable through Photoshop. In effect, I once photographed director of photography Gale Tattersall with his son together and when they understood that my photos emerge in-camera, they where very enthusiastic to be part of my art work.
Today, I would like to introduce you to Sierra from New Roads School in L.A. Sierra in an American with American Mexican background. To her, common values create a healthy melting pot within a diverse community or country. Sierra lives with her family in Venice Beach, which to Los Angelinos, is a middle to low income neighbourhood. When Sierra decided to surf in high income neighbourhood Malibu, she worried, she might not be accepted in that community. However, through the love and passion for surfing she bonded quickly with the Malibu surfer community.
Sierra made the conclusion she and her close friends are usually from mixed backgrounds and that creates a common experience which connects them. Of course there is also music and many other reasons to create a common ground between them.
Then we talked about why so many people might have voted for Trump. Sierra’s observations where, that he managed to bring together the full on white Americans by saying, they are endangered. The logical result is that the reverse effect is just as valid. By creating common values for all members in a diverse country they can easily brought together. For example through family values, Sierra thought. To me, students like Sierra are the future of our societies. Sierra stands for the beautiful mix of cultures, creating open minded and empathetic citizens who have the ability to shape our futures more peacefully.
Writer & photographer: Semra Sevin