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Mixture of Cultures

The title of this art piece is called “Mixture of Culture.” My inspiration for this art piece was the idea that San Diego is populated with various refugee communities. Some people are under the impression that because San Diego is a border town to Mexico, the only refugees in San Diego are Mexican. Realistically, San Diego consists of very diverse communities of refugees from countries all around the world. The fact that we are so close to Mexico does not mean that there are only Mexican refugees, we are just close to a port of entry for refugees around the world. During class, we learned about Vietnamese, Palestinian, Burmese, and other refugee communities that have big populations here in San Diego. Even I myself was surprised to hear about some of the communities because I didn’t know that their population in San Diego was so big.

So, my intention with this art piece is to highlight the various communities we learned about. I drew the border wall and people looking from Mexico into the United States. I made sure to make silhouettes of these people to demonstrate that every refugee looks different, and is different. Refugees coming in from the Mexico and U.S. port of entry do not have a singular experience, and should not be defined by those experiences. I also included a U.S. flag on the other side to show that although it was on U.S. land, there were still a mixture of cultures on that land. U.S. land does not entail one singular culture.

One thing that has made San Diego so special for me ever since I moved here was the fact that you can find a lot of different foods here depending on which city of San Diego you go to. I also wanted to highlight this in my art piece because food is very representative of culture and community. In fact, there are many restaurants that are run by refugees themselves. I included images of food from Vietnamese food with pho to images of food from Mexico with tamales. The food itself is telling just how different, but special each of these cultures are.

My artistic process began as a sketch of the border wall. I knew I wanted to include a mixture of cultures on the U.S. side so I decided to draw it as people were looking into the U.S. from the other side of the border so people see how diverse it is. After sketching it all out, I knew it was important to add a mixture of colors to highlight the different cultures I added to the piece. I think its vibrance was really important to the message of the piece to show just how diverse the U.S. is.

Ultimately, I wanted to highlight that multiple refugee communities exist in San Diego. Just because we border Mexico does not mean that we only have Mexican refugees in San Diego. We have Vietnamese, Pakistanian, Burmese, Haitian, and more refugees that also need the support. It is important to highlight these other refugee communities that are often forgotten. I wanted to highlight the beauty and significance of their culture by displaying images of their food.



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