Culturas Corner highlights those who make their community a better place through their work, business, volunteering or activism. Today we learn more about author and artist Beth Chin.
Hi Beth! Can you start by telling us about yourself? We’d love to know more about your background and your path to becoming an author and artist.
Art has always been a part of my life— through play with my brothers as a child to starting my freelancing career as an artist at sixteen. But before writing my book, I would have never considered myself an author. “Being Mixed” was originally an art project of mine and a result of attempting to communicate the complexities of a multiracial identity through art.
Can you tell us more about your book “Being Mixed?” How did you first come up with the book?
One of my jobs as an artist while I was living in Germany was teaching art classes to refugee and under-privileged youths in Hamburg. Being not so well-versed in the language, most of my connection with the kids and teens there was through the art. This taught me a lot about the natural, cross-cultural communicative abilities of art, as well as the fear of misunderstanding art, which is installed into our minds by high-culture institutions who make art unapproachable. With this in mind, as I was doing my research on multiracial identities and expressing my personal experiences through art, the answer seemed to be not in research or in art alone, but mixed somewhere in between.
Before “Being Mixed” was a book, “Being Mixed” was an art collective I formed in Hamburg with seven other multiracial and ethnic artists, who all had the goal of creating a multicultural community through our arts. Though, due to COVID, our plans of hosting exhibitions and building a community center were put on hold. But, it was during this quarantine as I was reviewing my old graphic design books that I was able to create the first nine-page manifesto of what eventually became a full visual guide.
What impact do you hope to have on readers with “Being Mixed?”
My hope for “Being Mixed” is that it feels easy to pick up, easy to access and brings the simple sense of a standard to intercultural interaction.
Although “Being Mixed” began as a manifesto of the multiracial kid, it evolved into a guide for readers who wouldn’t consider themselves mixed and offered them an alternative to their static identity, if they so wished to have it. My wish is that readers would feel inspired to constantly grab for the opportunity to continually learn from others and evolve.
You have a webinar coming up on January 16. Can you tell us more about it and why it’s important to highlight multiculturalism?
Especially now that countries are closing borders due to the coronavirus, we need to learn now more than ever how to connect cross-culturally and build intercultural relationships. Re-Mixed webinar’s goal is to do just that. By highlighting speakers that talk on topics of multiculturalism from all sorts of countries, we hear a larger view on what multiculturalism means to all sorts of people.
What is your favorite cultural memory?
It’s hard to point out one specific tradition, but most of my favorite cultural memories involve being with my extended family.
Answers have been edited for length and clarity. Know someone who should be featured on Culturas Corner? Nominate them here.