Honoring Your Child’s Birth Culture: Cultural Art To Add to Your Home

Help honor your child's birth culture with diverse art.

Natalie Brenner March 25, 2017

As a transracial family, displaying art in our home which reflects our child and his or her birth culture is immensely important.

We are a white couple who adopted transracially and we are never short of racial-mirrors in our life; white is everywhere. There are plenty of television shows, books, art pieces, and movies that portray and illustrate white people. Adding cultural art to our home took some intentional focus at first. Now it has become second nature and I am always on the lookout for ways to bring our son’s birth culture into our home.

Your children should see themselves in your art. I have heard from far too many adoptees who share how lonely and “othered” they felt growing up as a transracial adoptee, not seeing themselves or their birth culture represented in their home. This includes toys, art, people, music, language, food, everything that makes up a culture.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be the reason my children are completely out of touch with their birth culture. I don’t want to raise my children, white or not, to buy into white as default, white as best/superior. I want to serve my children to the best of my ability and part of that is building their birth culture into our family. There is no denying or ignoring their birth culture and to do so is poor parenting.

I spent hours searching for shops and small businesses who sell culturally diverse art; I was really attempting to find art created by people who are a part of these cultures and communities, instead of white people creating another culture’s art. I was unable to include as many as I had hoped, but here are a few! Do you have a shop you love that supports diversity and focuses on a specific culture? Please comment on this post and share with us!

I reached out to quite a few shop owners; some responded and some didn’t. Below is a list/slideshow of seven amazing shops that do just that.

CBABI BAYOC
1. CBABI BAYOC

See the shop here.

Cbabi Bayoc is a painter and illustrator residing in St. Louis, MO. His subjects cover family, children, music, and a bunch of other cool stuff designed with line, bold color and phunk! Check out his 365 Days With Dad series at cbabibayoc.com.

SHOP HERMOSA
2. SHOP HERMOSA

Krystal Peralta currently resides in Cottage Grove, Oregon. She is a Mexican-American mama, representing her culture in the Pacific Northwest. Her main items are pins.

See the shop here.

MOSSYROCK DESIGN
3. MOSSYROCK DESIGN

See the shop here.

A big chunk of the Bradley’s adoption was financed with sales from her shop sales. After their adoption was financed, they began donating a portion from every sale to orphan care. I have two of her beautiful paintings in my home.

“I think it is very important for a child to grow up seeing images representing herself and her family. When we first started our adoption process, I realized that there wasn't a lot of art out there representing multicultural families. I decided to paint some, so that little boys and girls can see images that mirror their families.

“I also wanted to honor our daughter's culture of origin, and so I began painting scenes encountered in Ethiopia, e.g. the Coffee Ceremony, the Mango Sellers, or the Marketplace. I use bright colors because they draw a child's eyes and spark interest and joy.

“Some of my paintings focus on African hair, e.g. my Hair Time series, which still remains my all-time best seller. Hair Time is a big part of a black child's life, and to me, Hair Time is a valuable and special time I get to spend one-on-one with our daughter each week.”

Kaite has degrees in biochemistry, molecular biology, and international relations. Somewhere in the time between these, she became an artist. Her passion is creating watercolor and ink nursery art, and she has illustrated two children's books. You can see more of my art on her blog.

BAGGIO ARDON DESIGN
4. BAGGIO ARDON DESIGN

See shop here.

“The story of this shop and the illustrations I've done is a long one, however, we can sum it up with a mix of an unhealthy obsession over my cultural heritage, a desire to share the stories and voices of people so often unheard, and the drive to use my ability as a designer to create art that can reach every corner of the world. My goal is to have my work be a friendly addition to anyone's collection, giving anyone a taste of Latinx culture wherever they are. It is a reminder of the passionate beauty and color so often overlooked in media.”

I absolutely loved chatting with Baggio; he was extremely generous in sharing information and is all about celebrating Latinx culture.

MUSIC
5. MUSIC

Music is definitely a piece of art. Learning more about your children’s birth culture’s music and adding it into your daily life would be a gift to them.

Here in Portland, there is a music festival every summer at the Portland Mercado; big cities have plenty of opportunities to join in celebration of various latinx cultures. With the internet at our fingertips and Spotify or Pandora easily accessible wherever we are, we can create playlists that include music from our child’s birth culture. You can too!

SONGS OF THE SHAMAN
6. SONGS OF THE SHAMAN

“I was born in Seoul, South Korean in 1987. I am a member of the Junjui Clan, and inherited my shaman rites from my mother, who inherited them for her mother, and so on, traceable back 14 generations, and likely much longer than that through the oral tradition. I've studied English for as long as I can remember, and have trained in calligraphy for a comparable amount of time. I have a working knowledge of over 10,000 Chinese characters (hanja in Korean), and studied the Chinese Classics of the Neo-Confucian Tradition in my training to become a Korean Shaman (mudang). I’ve always had a strong interest in the metaphysical and have a sincere desire to aid mankind.”

See the shop here.

SOMAR ATX
7. SOMAR ATX

See he shop here.

Check out this shop that celebrates diversity. Their tagline is: “Embracing nuestra cultura and celebrating diversity!”

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Natalie Brenner

Natalie Brenner is wife to Loren and mom to two under two, living in Portland, Oregon. She is the best-selling author of This Undeserved Life. She likes her wine red, ice cream served by the pint, and conversations vulnerable. Natalie believes in the impossible and hopes to create safe spaces for every fractured soul. She's addicted to honesty and believes grief is the avenue to wholeness. Natalie is a bookworm, a speaker, and a lover of fall. Connect with her at NatalieBrennerWrites.com and join her email community.


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