The Blueprint is The Oxford Blue’s brand-new arts publication. Following in the footsteps of Creativity in Crisis, it showcases creative work in a range of artistic media, providing a space to share thoughts, stories and personal experiences.

Issue No. 4—Multicultural Identity

I am a citizen of the world.

Sylvia Beach

In today’s age of globalisation, many of us find ourselves a product of two (or more) cultural forces. This theme reflects on the concept of belonging, and the personal journey in reconciling different parts of our cultural identity.

Featured artist: Cornelia Chen

Second Skin – Cornelia Chen

The colourful strings were weaved and formed into a façade that shields the rough surface beneath. Camphor wood itself has a sharp smell, commonly used as an insect repellent. Both of these qualities give chaotic and protective energy, yet there is also a sense of acceptance since the ‘second skin’ became firmly attached to its roots. I really enjoy the loose strings on the sides of the sculpture.

pronunciation (prəˌnʌn .siˈeɪ.ʃən) – Ceri Holloway
Illustration by Cornelia Chen
On the Vale of Glamorgan,
I swayed for two years,
contained in the raised ‘a’
of Cardiff (ˈkæːdɪf).
The vowel that hangs
onto my father

now clings onto the new ‘a’s he has picked up:
Lah, mah, ha?
His apa khabar drawn out long,
‘a’s raised.
Just like that
thirty years collapse
into a phonetic blink of an eye.

My vowels don’t sit so well.
What is ü to an English tongue?
Consonants jostle for space
as know and knife go quietly into that good (k)night

khas is special

it comes out guttural,
from the throat,
from the heart.

I take care not to choke
as I gasp for words like air. 
in an inevitable sea of draining memory

My tongue curls, 
inflexible and stiff
as meaning slips
off the coast of sense and sound:

shed, shredded – Cornelia Chen
digital collage

This collage piece reflects on the themes of isolation, vacated objects, domestic environments, and the concept of ‘home’ through ‘furniture’ and an interrupted viewing space. I played with the boundary of image frames connected to the digital realm. The door could almost be a portal of escape into the next room.

Misplaced – Mehrin Abedin

Oftentimes I question myself; I question my identity and where I truly belong. Over here I’m different because I’m a minority, and over there I’m different because I’m from the West. However, my culture has been painted over and shamed for so long here that I have discarded that part of myself to simply “fit in”. But now I am reclaiming. I’m taking back my roots and wearing my home colours with pride. I am bringing back vibrancy and richness to a world that has started to turn black and white. I am finally being myself. 

Home Before Sunset – Siddiq Islam
Illustration by Cornelia Chen
Maghrib curfew, Ma’s dictation.
Rush home like the setting sun.
Didn’t need the explanation.
Always said and always done.
Promised Ma not to adventure
Outdoors on the unlit ground.
Delighted in daylight ventures,
Then retired safe and sound.
Days, though, shrank when Winter heightened.
Who commissioned dusks so soon?
One such night I, unenlightened,
Fell in with Al-Kafiroon.
But I’d been forever shielded;
Intermingling came at cost.
On that night, my culture yielded.
Cultures blended, cultures lost.

…That’s it for HT2021 editions of The Blueprint! Follow us on Facebook or Instagram for updates on the TT2021 term card.

Curated and edited by Yundi Li