Unlike most people, my immigration history and my family’s immigration history is a rather complicated and diverse one and in order to understand the significance of my object and its relation to my immigration history there has to be a deeper understanding of my family’s background and experience. I am originally from Kingston, Jamaica and come from a rather diverse family—I am Chinese, White and Black. My mother’s side of the family is Chinese and it is from this side of my family that my object has been passed down through generations. In our family we have a set of eight hand painted Chinese tea cups that my great grandmother brought back with her from Canton on one of her few trips back home later on in her life. My great grandmother bought these tea cups not only because of their beauty but because of what they represented and symbolized to her. On each tea cup there is a hand painted dragon and for the Chinese, the dragon serves as a symbol of power, strength and good luck. In addition to that, these tea cups also served as a physical representation of our family’s heritage and identity as Chinese-Jamaicans and my great grandmother wanted to ensure that her children, grandchildren and great grandhildren knew and were reminded to always embrace their Chinese heritage and background. To this day they remain a very special reminder of our family’s culture, heritage and our place in immigration history.
– Dominique McKenzie