Living in between worlds is complicated. On a good day the world is our oyster, we fit in anywhere and love the diversity and excitement. On a bad day we don’t belong to anywhere, falling in between the cracks, confounding our identity. For some TCK’s belonging comes naturally. For others it is like trying to catch a cloud.

The art in the art gallery represents the diverse and complex nature of TCK’s as we try to learn about our identity and find belonging. It is tough, but rewarding. Below are three pieces which TCK author Tina Quick picked as particularly standout. Click on the photo to read what the artist’s explanation. Have a look at them, and check out the rest at:

About Tina:
This year Tina Quick will be picking out a few pieces which she thinks are particularly poignant. Tina is a cross-cultural trainer, international speaker, and an adult TCK. She works works with international transition for a living and has a wealth of rich insights into the TCK experiences. Her book A Global Nomad’s Guide to University Transition has helped many TCK’s, myself included, with a difficult transition (the book is amazing! please have a read of it if you are a TCK or know some).

Where Are You From? by Hannah Schmidt
The recurring “Where are you from?” jabs at the reality of her rootlessness. One hand is holding the globe, carefully and lovingly, because of the experiences The World has given her, which she couldn’t have experienced had she lived in only one place. Where as the other hand is hesitatingly touching The World, revealing the other part of the TCK experience: feeling rootless yet longing to belong, the identity crisis continuous. Her tears show her angst about her past, present and future, feeling alone in her search for belonging.

“This drawing struck me by the subtle yet intentional depiction of the multi-layered struggles TCK face – loving the global experiences her lifestyle has given her and yet she finds herself struggling with rootlessness, identity, and belonging. The contrast of using black and white media for the subject and then color for the globe highlights the bittersweet experience.”


The Significance of Objects by Segyo Oh
Artists often do still lifes to practice a various range of skills. And this piece shows objects that represented the places that I have lived or visited. The pieces that we collect and have often are attached to a place which speaks loud to our identity. Something may look like an ordinary blanket to another person, but to me a Masai blanket may have a significant amount of memories attached to it.

“This artist has many powerful submissions, but the one that tugged on my heart strings was “The Significance of Objects.” As an ATCK and the mother of three TCKs this piece impacted me because as the artist says, “The pieces we collect are often attached to a place that speaks loud to our identity.” What may seem insignificant to others has intense value to us. That is why I always tell parents never to throw away their TCK’s belongings without asking first. One day they will be ready to let go as that identity evolves.”

Fertilized Love Giggles by Melanie Hyo-In Han
I’m Korean by birth, but I grew up as a TCK/MK in East Africa. I moved to the States in 2012 and have been living in Boston ever since, constantly thinking about my identity and where I belong.
The third poem, “Fertilized Love Giggles,” addresses the fact that even though I don’t “belong” in East Africa, I don’t “belong” in Korea either. My identity as a Korean is interrupted by the fact that I can’t fully express myself in Korean.
Who am I? Where do I belong? How does my identity shape my worldview?
I know that the issue of identity and belonging is something that I will have to wrestle with for the rest of my life, but I consider it an honor, knowing that I wouldn’t be who I am today without my past experiences.

“MH’s poems beautifully demonstrate the strong attachments TCKs have to their host countries, how engrained the culture can become in their own lives, and the struggle with identity and belonging that naturally ensues. I was particularly struck by her poem, “Fertilized Love Giggles” in which she describes her struggle with communicating with her grandmother. She sums up her experiences and her art with this relevant insight, “I know that the issue of identity and belonging is something that I will have to wrestle with for the rest of my life, but I consider it an honor, knowing that I wouldn’t be who I am today without my past experiences.” I am happy for her that she is learning to embrace her uniqueness.”