My name is Tristan Sharrock. I am a 24-year-old woman born and raised in Sydney, Australia. I created this piece after the passing of my Mémère (my Dad’s mother) in 2021. Around this time, I started digging into my family’s history and ancestry. My father was born in Port Louise, Mauritius and came to Australia at age 2. My mother was born in Durban, South Africa, and came to Australia at age 15. My grandparents brought my family to Australia for the same reason many other people migrate to Australia – for a better life.
I’ve always wanted to know more about my roots, who my ancestors are, their stories, and the journey they took that led us to where we are today. I strongly believe in honouring and remembering our ancestors, for you wouldn’t be who you are or where you are today without them. Mauritians who are mixed identify themselves as Creole. South Africans of mixed descent identify themselves as Coloured. It’s important to note that both these terms are not considered racist nor offensive in their country of origin, and a sense of pride is associated with the identity. When you are “Coloured” or “Creole”, it can be tough to know your lineage because you are usually “a great big melting pot” of African, European and Asian.
I have experienced an identity crisis or two throughout my life, especially in high school. I often asked myself what it meant to be coloured? Many people try to tell me what I am and am not. Today I am still learning about myself, my ancestors and my family history. I don’t believe you ever really know “who you are” entirely because self-discovery is a never-ending journey. You will re-discover and learn new things about yourself many times throughout your life. So to those who ask, I am Mauritian, I am South African, I am Asian, I am black, I am white, I am Coloured, I am Creole, I am a bit of my mother, I am a bit of my father, I am a bit of my grandparents and great grandparents, I am a bit of all those who came before me, I am Australian. I am Tristan, a 24-year-old woman born and living in Sydney, Australia, with one big colourful melting pot of ancestry! I’ve titled this work “Colour Me Creole” (self-portrait digital painting and collage).
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