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Sofia Innamorato, 16


New York

My art doesn’t really follow any boundaries. It’s loose and unfinished - it’s messy & rough. I’d like to think that my art mirrors my mentality, and that this piece therefore represents my stress. It’s very, very sketchy and unfinished, as if it was drawn in a hurry, or like it was drawn without much concentration, as someone with a lot of stress may have done. My ethnicity has always been a sort of nagging source of stress for me, whether it be from my social life or my family, or even my own mind. When I was younger, I always struggled to fit into one group - my Asian friends all knew how to speak korean and would often make fun of me for not knowing my own language & culture, & they always labeled me as “the halfsie,” while my white peers would often make fun of me, saying things like “you don’t look asian!” while pulling their eyes back, calling me a “fake asian,” so on and so forth. So, I only had a few close friends until high school, where I found a group of friends that weren’t focused on my mixed race. My family (my mom’s side) usually only speaks in korean, so I often put a lot of pressure on myself to try and learn the language - I’ve never had an actual conversation with my grandpa, and it really hurts me. I want to take korean, but I’m afraid of dropping Italian, which is a whole separate part of my identity that I’m trying to explore as well. What stuns me is that I’ve really only experienced a tiny, tiny fraction of the discrimination and struggles of the real POC in America. My art sometimes reflects my thoughts on the state of our country - I have illustrated models pulling their eyes back to try and mimic the slender eye shape of an Asian individual. It disappoints me. My style reflects this - nothing is solid, nothing is definite, all my lines are flowy and unsure, just like my thoughts about my country, about my identity, about what I should know, about how much of my culture I should learn.

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