Photographers Reveal the Beauty of People From Different Ethnic Backgrounds
Mixed is a Ukranian documentary-artistic project by TheNorDar magazine. It focuses on what it is like to be a person who hails from several different ethnic backgrounds. Over a year and a half, the magazine organized a weekly interview and photo session with a new individual. The results formed the basis of a fascinating exhibition.
Today Bright Side presents you with an overview of the project’s most vibrant highlights!
Roots: Korean, Ukrainian, Russian
Husband: Artyom Kim, director at STB. Pureblood Korean. His family lived in Ukraine.
Wife: Mawa Kim, director of the “KEKS” children’s animation studio. Russian and Ukrainian roots.
Children: Stephanie and Stephen Kim
“For me, there are only 2 nationalities in the world: thinking people and ignorant people,” says Artyom.
Roots: Cuban, Ukrainian
Jastina Polyakova, sociology student at Taras Shevchenko University
“I look more like a Cuban, but I have a Ukrainian soul.”
Roots: Ukrainian, Arabic
Anis Ettaeb, dentist and rock musician
“My mother used to speak to me in Ukrainian and to my father in Russian. And my dad communicated with both of us in Tunisian. As for myself, I understand Russian but cannot speak it. In all, I know 7 languages: Arabic (and a Tunisian dialect), Ukrainian, Russian, Polish, French, and English.
The downside is that you’re prone to hesitation, unsure of which culture you really belong to. Who am I? A stranger, wherever I go. And there’s nothing to be done about it. I’m all too aware of being unlike everyone else. If our world is heading toward the intermixing of nationalities, I’m all for it!”
Roots: Austrian, Polish, Ukrainian, Russian, Jewish, Georgian Gypsies
Emil Wolski, graphic designer
“I enjoy learning languages, so I’m fluent in Russian, Ukrainian, English, and Hebrew. I don’t speak Polish but understand it well. Back in my childhood, my dad used to speak Gypsy to me. Also, I know Russian sign language. Lately, I’ve done a good job at learning French and German grammar and now dream of studying the Georgian language.
In my opinion, thanks to the symbiosis of different cultures, mixed-race people have many innate advantages.”
Roots: Buryat, Slavic, Ossetian
Dinah Bagaeva, founder of the “Sofa 70’s” company and project manager at the “Secret Service”
“Today, almost all of us are mixed-nationality. There’s no such thing as the pure ’Aryan’ race. Somewhere, deep down, there’s an inner Buddhist in me, saying, ’All changes are for the better!’ People with mixed ethnic roots may stand out in terms of appearance. But, what’s truly important, we are all citizens of the world.”
Roots: Jewish, Armenian, Russian, Ukrainian, Greek, Gypsy
Margarita Muradova, fashion blogger, stylist, personal shopping consultant
“I have long learned to nip any racist rantings in the bud. So you can make fun of my Jewish roots, but only if we’d both laugh at the joke. I’ve worked out a scheme: on meeting someone for the first time, I mention my nationality right from the start. It’s me being me, and you being you — simple as that!
People with mixed ethnic roots tend to seek a deeper understanding of the surrounding world because they already carry a considerable part of the world inside them.”
Roots: Polish, Spanish, Serbian, Russian, German, Hungarian, Czech
Tata Kepler, director of strategic development and planning for the Aroma Espresso Bar network, scriptwriter, producer
“Mixed-race is beautiful, in every sense. You carry inside you a multitude of colors, a beautiful geography that spans the continents. You’re like the globe, and you incorporate everything: North, South, East, and West. Your inner world is home to mountains, seas, and oceans, which your ancestors once saw. Your soul echoes with the raptures they once felt. You inherit all their fascinations, all their passions.”
Roots: African, Swiss
Morgan Fula, sound engineer, model
“I think that I’ve inherited a mixture of my parents’ best qualities. Often, people find it difficult to guess my ethnic roots — they think that I’m Brazilian or Cuban. My character traits are very diverse as well. They range from hospitality and friendliness to coldness and detachment.
In my opinion, people with mixed ethnic backgrounds are very special. I’ve always sought contact with others like myself. It seems to me that, in the future, history will be made by mixed-race individuals.”
Roots: Ukrainian, Russian, French, African (Republic of Togo)
Annet Amegan, fashion designer, owner of the “Fish & Chips Kiev” diner
Inna Kryachok, Annet’s mother
“It’s tough being mixed-race. After finishing school, I really wanted to be a doctor but decided to abandon the idea. The risks were too obvious: many people would’ve felt uneasy about letting me treat their children. So I became an art critic instead. As far as professions go, this one is ethnicity-blind.
On the one hand, mixed-race people have to withstand considerable social pressure. On the other, this kind of thing makes you stronger. I constantly feel the urge to prove that I’m better than what others think of me.”
Roots: Ukrainian, French, German, Russian, Belarusian
Evgeniya Skvarskaya, model, wedding planner
“I take great pride in the history of my family. Therefore, I treasure all of my ethnic roots.
All of us are mixed-race to one degree or another. And, in my opinion, people with multiple ethnic origins are distinguished by their philosophy, by their desire to create, to change the world around them.”
Roots: Turkish, Greek, Kazan Tatar, Ukrainian
Suna Shakhan, 5 years old
Karina Agmalova, her mother
“Mixed-race people have a great advantage: the possibility of choice. We can choose a country in which to live, a culture we prefer to belong to, and a religion we want to profess. Actually, that’s how we go through life — by choosing those we want to communicate with and those we feel we can trust. On a subconscious level, this makes us more confident and morally resilient. Multiple roots give us strength to achieve our goals and immunity in dealings with those who try to keep us down.”
Roots: Kazakh, Daghestanian, Ukrainian, Russian
Timur Karashaev, rock musician, leader of the group Barely Ice, photographer
“It’s good to be mixed-race because the whole planet is your home, and you have roots in different parts of the world. This allows you to enjoy a broader outlook on life, to understand what it’s like being different. There’s no nationalism in you because you are a true cosmopolitan without limits.”
Roots: Korean, Ukrainian
Anna Lee, producer
“To me, mixed race means freedom. My mother can cook both delicious Ukrainian borscht and wonderful yukgaejang (Korean soup). Having moved several times, I came to the realization that things like ’home’ and ’homeland’ are mainly in your head. You can either focus on one predominant nationality or develop in all directions.”
Roots: Ukrainian, Greek, Russian, Polish
Anna Lytkina, philologist, author of the “Kiev Tour Guide” project
“Scientists have proven that people with mixed roots enjoy greater genetic stability. In my opinion, such individuals can see and know things that ’purebloods’ will never understand.”
Roots: Ukrainian, Russian, Polish, Latvian, Mordovian
Alyona Matvienko, producer of The Great Gatsby ballet
“Mixed race is the norm. I don’t like those who champion racial purity and preservation of bloodlines. From a genetic point of view, multiple ethnic roots strengthen our gene pool and enrich the nation, both culturally and intellectually. As for pure-bloodedness — in this turbulent world of ours, it doesn’t exist anymore. Except, perhaps, within the Japanese imperial family.”
Roots: Azerbaijani, Ukrainian, Russian, Bulgarian, Greek
Lesya Nazarova, musician, poet, children’s animator
“People of mixed nationality are different because they possess a special vibrancy, a unique ethnic content. Their personality shines with inimitable colors. Nationality affects genetics, and I’m a great believer in this science. This includes the innate reflexes, which get triggered as we face various situations. In other words, such a hodgepodge of ethnic roots helps to smooth out the rough edges of my character. Also, it makes my life more interesting.”
Roots: Georgian, Ukrainian, Polish
Sophie Villy, singer, musician, composer
“Being mixed-race is not just about inheriting diverse genetic makeups but also about mastering the energies that different cultures imbue us with.”
Roots: Indian, Spanish, Armenian, Jewish, Polish
Daniel Kresensiovch Rios-Solis, founder of Apple Pie Weddings agency
“The more languages you know, the more doors are open before you. The same is with your ethnic roots. In a sense, people of mixed race are richer than ’purebloods.’ They’re inherently devoid of fanaticism and intolerance toward others. Their home is everywhere and nowhere in particular.”
Roots: Vietnamese, Polish, Ukrainian
Christina Nguyen, owner of RentABrand (rental dress services), painter
“Mixed ethnicity is an interesting phenomenon. People with diverse ethnic roots appear to be in a constant internal search for self-identity; for a place they can call home, a place they can always return to. They carry inside them genetic memory from different parts of the world. Like links in a chain, they provide the ties that hold various cultures together. Thanks to these connections, the world becomes a little more tolerant. This gives all of us better chances of finding understanding and love.”
Roots: Italian, German, Austrian, Ukrainian, Dutch, Tatar
Lukerya Pokrovskaya, model, photo retoucher
“My diverse origins are expressed both in my appearance and in my complex, versatile character. People like me are cosmopolitans who can feel at ease in most countries. As for ’purebloods,’ I rarely meet them at all. That’s probably why I’m so interested in such individuals right now. I consider them to be just as special as mixed-race people.”
Roots: Ukrainian, Greek, Polish
Anna Zavalskaya, singer, songwriter, TV presenter
“Fusion of nationalities is valuable in terms of genetics. It means not only intermixing of ethnicities but also of cultures. Music, language, traditions — all of these things interact, borrow from each other, adapt, take root, and develop. You can compare this to a handmade patchwork quilt made of various colorful pieces of fabric. We are all one.”
Roots: Ukrainian, Russian, African (Ghana)
Dennis Adu, trumpeter, bandleader of the Dennis Adu Big Band
“It’s like a conspiracy without a conspiracy. When you meet another mulatto like yourself on the street, you stop and say, ’Hello.’ Before long, you end up telling him or her your life’s story. In return, that person tells you his/her tale or just gives you an understanding nod. Anyway, I think that I’m no different from other people, except for my hair and my skin color.
Many people tend to think, ’This guy is good at playing the trumpet because he’s black.’ Let them think that if they want to. The truth is that I always worked more than others and earned respect because of it.”
What roots do you have? Share your story in the comments!