The British Library

Izzie’s Story

I am the 5th out of 6 children in my family. When I was 10, we had moved to Wakefield from Gdańsk (Poland). It was a weird experience, as I hadn’t spoken any English but over the years it improved. First, I didn’t feel like I was welcome and apart of the British culture, however at some point around college time, people started to identify me as English. I didn’t know what to think of that. Now I identify myself as an international, rather than belonging to one national identity. When I talk about my identity to other polish, they definitely judge me for loosing my patriotism (which I never felt in first place) and that I am ‘trying to fit in with the English’. People can’t expect you not to change when your environment changes.

When brexit referendum results came in, I cried, feeling like I did when I couldn’t speak English. Place I felt was my home, again seemed to reject me purely based on where I was born. People feel too entitled to places, only by where they were born. We are all one and there is no much differences in us, other than the traditions we hold, language we speak and the food we eat - all which should be shared and respected.

-Izzie, London

© Yinka Shonibare, 2018 | Website by Hanna Sorrell