Gallery 1

Natalia Schonowski

Identity is the set of characteristics that somebody recognizes as belonging uniquely to himself or herself and constituting his or her individual personality for life. In philosophy, personal identity refers to the essence of a self-conscious person, that which makes him or her uniquely what they are at any one point in time, and which further persists over time despite superficial modifications, making him or her the same person at different points in time. Everyone seeks his or her identity. This is the question that I address in my latest pieces. Whether it is identity through a passport, through the family tree or through gender and their roles in society, we as human beings are always asking ourselves where we come from and where we are headed. I do not try to answer these questions through my work, but rather to analyze and expose these situations through familiar objects and images, such as passports, family photographs, social situations and images and other personal ephemera. The notion of the self is not perceived at a same constant; it fluctuates through the years and the obstacles and experiences that come our way. But most importantly, our identity is not only created by what we think of ourselves, but also, by what other people think of us. There is identity of the self and there is also what other people perceive as your identity. In this day and age, where people are becoming more and more bi-racial, bi-cultural, and more mixed, defining oneself through different lenses is a necessity that we all face. It has become more culturally acceptable to be mixed; if anything, it is to some extent praised. As far as gender roles are concerned, they have also dramatically changed in the past fifty years, and people are still struggling to come to terms with them. In my work I have addressed some of these issues about culture, ethnic background, and gender and how these notions of identity can create discomfort, harm or how they can benefit an individual. As my work progresses, I would like to include not only my own experiences, but that of other people whom others have felt the need to classify in a specific category; whether they are male or female, black, white, yellow, brown, etc, through their cultural and ethnic background, socio-economic status, nationality, etc. There are no right answers to what our identity is, it shifts, and as we grow, our perceptions change about who we are and how we relate to our environment and other people. [Content provided by Natalia Schonowki]

Safety Blanket 1 Safety Blanket 2

Safety Blanket 3 Passport