1=MANY

 

One equals Many is a body of work submitted in my final year of study at Curtin University; undertaking a Bachelor of Arts (Fine Arts) and can be seen on Behance.

It is about the journey part of my ancestors took from Atlantis to Ancient Egypt to Celtic Ireland to Spain to Scotland to Ireland before migrating to Australia;  it is also about the 1 (ME) uncovering my identity and discovering that I have MANY cultures within, and whilst not entirely thrilled about the work submitted considering the restraints placed upon the type of work required, there are pieces out of it that I love such as the shrink film suitcase of ancestral countries I researched and more personable stories of sacrifice my ancestors took that I was previously not aware of.  If it weren't for this personable discovery; despite what the tutors thought about the body of work, I would not have discovered who I was along the way which to me, speaks volumes above any work submitted.

What was uncovered is largely mentioned on the DNA Tests page, however the DNA testing simply confirmed what I already knew from the research and discovery undertaken during my studies.  What the DNA testing page doesn't mention is the following information:

1 (me) = Many (as in cultures)

I was born in Australia.

My mother was born in Australia to Australian born parents.   My father was born in The United States of America to naturalised American parents.

Appears simple right?  WRONG!  This is where ancestry gets all complicated and records extremely difficult yet rewarding to locate.

My grandmother on my mother's side (my mother's mother) was born on King Island in Tasmania.

Her husband; my grandfather on my mother's side (my mother's father) was born in Ipswich in Queensland.

But as I can probably hear you say there's no story in this!  Whilst this is true, the story lies with and extends through their parents.

My grandmother's father (aka my great grandfather on my mother's side) was born into a Kanak Village.  He was born into the Kanak Village of Saint Paul in Thio, New Caledonia to parents who were both born and raised in Australia.  Technically speaking; and governing the laws of the land back then when a child was born, my great grandfather was born dark skinned and considered Kanak. That wasn't the end of things though, as his parents were also considered Kanak and adopted into the Village as such along with their newborn.  Considering there weren't many births in Thio at that time (records indicate only five other births, all native), this was a massive honour.

My grandmother's mother (aka my great grandmother on my mother's side) was also born on King Island, Tasmania, to parents born in both England and Spain.

My grandfather's parents (on my mother's side) were both born in England to Scottish and French families respectively.

Digging further, I also have a cousin who was a Hawaiian beauty Queen with Japanese heritage in the family; and going way back an Ancient Egyptian Queen.  So that's my mother's side of the family.  Now for my father...

My father's mother (my grandmother on my father's side) was Cherokee born and raised, with a full bloodline of Cherokee as far as the eye can see, going back to Chief Lewis Downing and beyond.

My father's father (aka my grandfather on my father's side) is Jewish, with both of his parents born in Austria to Polish families prior to moving and both becoming naturalised in America.

Having been raised a Jew his entire life, my father wanted to explore his mother's heritage and work out who he was as a person in the process.  Anyway, a person is only considered Jewish if their mother is Jewish, right?  Well considering my father's mother is Cherokee, my father was not as Jewish as first realised, so when he was 18, he moved to and immersed himself in the life and teachings of the Cherokee reservation in San Francisco (near the US Army base) to learn more prior to his entry into the US Army as an officer under an assumed name.  Why a different name and not his birth name?  He was Native American after all and back then didn't want to arouse suspicion or encounter hatred and abuse...

My mother recalls a photograph he had of his hair long, looking every part Cherokee.  What would have hurt his father is that he renounced his Judaism in favour of his Native heritage.  This became more apparent when my parents married and when I was conceived.  My father advised my mother to never allow his fathers religious influence decide how I should be raised.  It was my fathers wish that I grow up respecting the earth and all living things, as well as knowledge of all religious faiths and beliefs in order to make my own decisions, and to follow my own path.  So when my father's mother called after I was born it was of no surprise to my mother that she asked whether I was going to be baptised into the Jewish faith considering her husband was standing behind her;  because in  a later conversation she told my mother that her wishes for my future involved me continuing the Cherokee lineage as she and subsequently my father and many women in the matrilineal line had.  My mother was also advised that I was a Cherokee part of the Ani'-Wah' Ya (Wolf) Clan.  In what was described as a full blown lesson in Native American Cherokee, my father's mother advised my mother of Cherokee laws and adopted my mother into the clan as a Cherokee.  My enisi (my father's mother/grandmother) also named me; a name for me which has stuck to this very day, even if a shortened version of my full name.

I am forever grateful for this, especially considering she died one month after my birth.  Her deeds will never be forgotten, and will always live on through myself and my children, even if far away..

The following pages - Cherokee|Irish|South Sea Polynesian Islander - reflect which of the MANY this 1 (ME) feels most drawn to.  Whilst all of the MANY cultures make up who I am, there are some cultures which simply are more me than the others.  Those closest to my heart reflect the path I am on and where I want to be.