The last year has given me a huge amount of time to reflect on myself and the world around me. Especially the racial and social justice movements made a big impression on me. So for this year, I want to educate myself more about these matters and the dimensions of diversity. In my daily life, but also with my work. As I believe these are problems to address in public, I was struggling how. I’ve seen the most amazing illustrators speaking up with their illustrations. And as I kept looking at our differences and the surrounding negativities, I just wanted to focus on the beauty of it. In the midst of all the ugly things people are calling each other, judging one another, I would just really want to spread some love. To shine a light on all countries, cultures, colours and religions and admire them. To put them on a pedestal instead of using them to bring one another down. Place yourself in someone else’s shoes every once in a while and observe, learn and appreciate. Or as imaged here: dress yourself in someone else’s clothes, learn about their cultures and listen to their background stories.
Culture doesn’t only tell us something about our pasts, our ancestors, our history. It also tells something about who we are today. We are born in it, we grow up with it and we live by it every day. It might say something about your beliefs, interests, perspectives, customs, morals, values and even our characters. Without maybe constantly noticing, it’s always present. Culture unites us, but it unfortunately also separates us. So, why do we appreciate other cultures while we travel, but why don’t we always appreciate them when they are right under our noses? Where in a foreign country you want to learn about the other, at home it may become a social border. How beautiful would it be if we could all learn from one another, instead of judging on what is different from our own. We should embrace and celebrate our differences.
If someone might not feel comfortable in his or her culture or country, they should have the freedom to explore others and feel welcome wherever they might go and settle. I wanted the portraits to show unity and strength, but also diversity and inclusion by swapping the person from their matching culture. Let’s educate ourselves and learn about other cultures than just our own, so we can create a bigger sense of understanding and most of all: respect. No more need for racism, inequality, injustice, violence and negativity. Let’s put in more effort to create unity and equality in 2021.