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Belonging in my Yolky Soul; Vol. 2 Understanding

Many people know me as the person that paints eggs. Many don’t know that I paint eggs because I am a person that holds many dualities.

My identity is a combination of things. I am Cantonese Canadian American, with German and Irish routes. I am from the colonizers and the colonized. I am gender fluid and gender queer, yet often use the term non-binary.

I am pansexual and proud of who I love and who I am.

My home is Hong Kong, but I don’t know it very well. My home is Vancouver, yet it doesn’t suit me. My home is Toronto and that is where I feel safe and real.

I find myself existing inside an ‘in-between space’ of races, genders, sexualities, and homes,

yet I am fully all, and I hold all, at all times.

The eggs paintings began with my biracial lens and since have become a symbol of my full identity.

Growing up I was mostly treated as white. I was called white-washed, wasian, bleached; I was given names like “halfie” and “egg” because people felt that I was “yellow” on the inside and less “Asian” than other Asian kids. Up until recently, I had accepted my place in the “white, straight, cis” box that people put me into. It was simpler, and it helped me avoid racist profiling, bullying and slurs.

The eggs represent facets of the multiracial experience: the isolation, the exclusion, the fetishization, the racism, but mainly being treated as a monolith while holding a unique layered experience. I want my eggs to resonate with many kinds of people, however multi-racial Asian, queer, immigrants are who my work is meant for. I want folks to find belonging in themselves, like I have in my yolky soul.

After years of allowing people’s perception to dictate the person I am, I’ve had enough. As I began to examine my identity, I realized that not only am I fully Asian and fully white, but I am also an immigrant and never truly felt Canadian. It sounds strange that it took me most of my life to acknowledge this, yet when everyone around you assures you that

you are how they see you, it is difficult to escape it.

I have always, and will always, know myself better than anyone will know me.

I have begun to take up space. I’ve stopped settling for simple descriptions of my identity. I have no interest in being easily categorized. I only care to be authentic. The world as I’ve learned it, is built for ‘simple people’.

People with shorter names, those who are able bodied, those who are thin, those who are light skinned, those who have one race, one gender, one home; these people are more easily categorized and promoted. I hold a lot of privilege because I hold a lot of these identifiers. I navigate the world with more ease than many others, because at a glance I fit in with the ‘simple people’,

but if I stare my identity in the eyes, I know that I am not so simply categorized.

This however does not change my privilege. My constant duality in all areas of my life, and my privilege in many of them, is what inspires me to put such focus on it. If it is safer for me to be louder, than I would like to do that.

In my practice, I explore how food and identity shapes our cultures and communities. Food is a form ofcare and a space of comfort, connecting us with the fabric of our identities; recognizing our authentic selves allows us to find where and how we belong. My focus is to create space for multiracial people, queer folks, and immigrants to heal and to feel represented in my work, particularly those at the intersection of these communities.

I want folks to allow themselves to define what home and belonging means to them and give themselves permission to have many homes and many places to belong to.

Through a whimsical style of little purple people, food and optically illusionistic architecture, I promote and support local family-run restaurant, small businesses, and queer community spaces, while also exploring my own mixed identity and my connections to my many communities.

I want my viewers to feel wholeness in their authentic selves.

I hope that folks can better understand their mixed identity and feel less alone through experiencing my artwork. Perhaps they too can find belonging, in their yolky soul.

Find Kelcy @mixt.paints

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