About me

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Identity is a concept that both captivates and troubles us all with its inability to be resolved. The question 'Who am I?' is one that can never truly be answered because as it is confronted, it only seems to raise more and more questions about whether we are truly what we are or whether what we see as our identity is simply a product of social conditioning from a young age. Is it purely a socio-economic question or defined primarily by skin colour, language and ethnicity? Also how do the expectations behind the identity question morph with time, as we grow? Nevertheless, I will attempt to outline what my identity is, who I am. My name 'Olufunmilayo' immediately identifies me as Yoruba. My father is Yoruba and my mother is half Edo (a minority ethnic group in Nigeria) and Jamaican. Both my parents emphasised and demonstrated the value of creativity in life and work, which remains important to me today.

 

Beyond my parents, however, my grandparents have been vital in shaping my sense of idenity. Furthermore, my grandmothers form a key part of my identity and I'm grateful to have them alive and well today. On one hand, my mother's mother is a lively outgoing lady from Kingston, Jamaica who helped to build me a strong connection to the music and cuisine of this part of my identity despite only having visited Jamaica once. This combination of cultures spills into lifestyle as well; the Christmas lunch comprises of jollof of course, but also jerk chicken and rice and peas, a cultural variety which I love. On the other hand, my father's mother is an eloquent, elegant and equally vibrant Yoruba woman who taught me songs in Yoruba and Hausa when I was younger, and with her instincts as a former teacher, encouraged my reading habit. 

 

In addition to this, place also helps me trace my identity. Raised in Lagos, Nigeria, I observed the equally stunning, gritty and frustrating cityscape, its socio-political dysunction as well as the profound relationships I have established there, and still maintain today, from school and beyond. However, my lived experience had been defined by the cultural limbo created by not speaking your native language fluently and going to school away from home, a double alienation of sorts. That is, I and many others can never fully belong to the spaces we occupy. Nevertheless, the knowledge of two cultures is something I see as a huge asset in terms of understanding human behaviour and creating unique work. All in all, these factors help to build a portrait of my identity, the people and places who came before me and raised me up to where I am now.

 

I enjoy engaging with literature to appreciate story telling but also to emphasise the necessity of empowerment, conversation and debate. At present you will see my writing and collages here but I also hope to expand my creative pursuits further. I hope you will discover the rest of my journey here.

- Funmi

identityFunmi Lijadu