Much like how I experienced growing up in a multicultural setting and having to find out where I belong, what I have found is that culture and our identity (or who we think we are as people) are major contributing factors to the big question of where do we belong. I became interested in this because it was a big part of my life growing up in a Sri Lankan immigrant family, with Peruvian relatives, in a majority white neighborhood. So, I had to navigate the space around me and figure out by myself where I thought I belonged through the traditional white america that I grew up in. I had a thought in doing this project that since I had trouble in the past finding a place for myself physically, why not explore the digital space?

Through this project I sought to answer this question of: “where do we belong?” What is presented in this project are digital portraits paired with items of significance and cultural relevance. All combined to create a digital identity of themselves. This project is for the people who struggle or have struggled in the past to find something exclusive to them. Something that people who have had similar backgrounds such as myself that are facing the aspect of trying to carve out a space for themselves culturally, much like how I used to dwell over in my past. In the end what went into the work were real people as subjects, objects of cultural representation and relevance to each individual, and an artistic/abstract interpretation of the subjects. The work is called Belonging.

About the Designer

My name is Ashwin Pathirana, and I am a Senior completing a Bachelor’s degree in graphic design at St. Edward’s University. I am a Sri Lankan American currently working as a freelance graphic designer in Austin, TX. I’m a little bit of an all rounder as I do Illustrations (Logos included), book formatting, video editing, and photoshop. Normally my design style is summed up in three words, big, bold, and colorful but lately I have been experimenting with works that hold meaning towards people. I believe that design is a language and one that is universal in meaning. So, if you have any interesting ideas you would like to bring into reality, feel free to contact me so we can make some great works!