I integrate visual art, history, design, and social conversation gathered from my Texas upbringing to discuss themes of belonging and the complications of navigating intersectional identities. Growing up, I found that many people believe that being raised in a white family excludes adoptees of color from having connection to their birth cultural identity, while others assume degrees of loss and crisis, leaving me wondering what identities I have a right to. In an effort to find an identity I could inhabit comfortably, I began unpacking my own relationships and interactions in order to make sense of how an individual can be a part of a group and also feel significantly separated from it.
Adoptee stories and emotions, especially those in multiracial families, are too often told by those who are not adopted, which contributes to further confusion for adoptees, a shift toward defensiveness from families, and the commodification of adoptees themselves in political and economic systems. In telling my own story, I want to create space for conversations that are led by the people they are about, using art to tell stories, and in doing so, encourage conversation, vulnerability, and growth.
Zoë Watts is an artist from Yulin, Shaanxi. They grew up in Austin, Texas and taught art after receiving their BFA. Their current artistic practice encompasses painting, ceramics, and small metalworking and they currently attend graduate school at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston.