“Identity” Saya Bellamy Interview

“Identity” Saya Bellamy Interview

What are you doing in Tokyo?

Currently I am living with family in Tokyo making art, writing poetry, translating, and modeling. I grew up near Toronto, moved here when I was thirteen, and then went back to Toronto to go to university after graduating high school here.

Recently I decided to take a break from studying to come back to Tokyo to “find myself” near friends and family. Exploring the heart of Tokyo and meeting and befriending fellow creatives in the art and fashion community has been really good to me.

I feel like I have become much more in tune with myself than I have ever been, and I feel l am finally working towards a goal I’ve created for myself, rather than just following societal expectations like I’d been doing my whole life.

What kind of person were you as a child?

I think it’s fair to say as a child I felt pretty lost. I only recently noticed I’d only be doing things out of fear of not doing them, rather than out of genuine interest.

For a long time, I thought my purpose was to exist for others, to be of convenience for the people around me, and express myself in ways others expected of me. Because of this, I did my best to excel at my academics and sports to please my teachers and relatives, even started out modeling to try to live up to societal feminine ideals, and frequently took on the therapist role between close friends and even strangers.

Not knowing who I was left me vulnerable, and exposed me to unhealthy people I thought was my responsibility to “fix.”

Finding art has helped me realize that I am the only one who gets to decide who I am. I will be the one to decide my life, and what I make of it.

Tell me about painting. What is your relationship with your art?

My art is my meditation. Being born between my Japanese mother and Canadian father left me feeling like I belonged to both countries, but neither. I spent a great deal of time trying to make sense of how to “categorize” my identity, especially in a homogenous country like Japan, constantly comparing myself with peers that couldn’t relate.

This environment left me feeling different, lost, and I constantly looked for external validation to feel whole, meaning I cared a lot about how people viewed me. It was only when I went to university back in Toronto alone, when I realized how much I’d been neglecting myself.

After withdrawing from my courses and finding myself back at my parents’ place, I picked up a paintbrush to try and get in touch with myself. I’d always been interested in art, but didn’t realize until then just how meditative the practice was.

I realized when I was painting, I was in the zone, not caring about the opinions of others. It was my time. And I loved it. Ever since, I’ve been painting and writing poetry as a way to express and explore my identity as a young mixed race woman in the modern world.

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Hiroshi Masuda
Hiroshi Masuda

Chief editor of The U / Graphic designer / Illustrator. Born in Japan in 1987. traveld around the world 76 countries from 2017. Illustration account instagram →@hiroshimasud look forward to your application from across the boarders.