Los Angeles, California
“In 1891, my great-great-grandmother, a young girl of six years, was playing on the beach in Goa, India. A British Officer approached her and offered her candy which she accepted as a kind gesture. He then offered her more if she followed him to his ship. Once on board, she was taken to a shipping crate where he sealed the entrance and trapped her. She lived in that crate for over a month as the ship sailed from India to the colonized island of Fiji in the south pacific. When the ship anchored at the port of Lautoka, she was taken to a sugar plantation where she lived as a slave. It was there that she met my great-great-grandfather, also a child slave kidnapped from India. Generations passed on the colonized island of Fiji when in 1963 my father and his family, now recognized as British subjects, boarded the Southern Cross ship bound for Great Britain.
My father was often beaten by skinheads. Despite a lineage of deplorable relation, my father fell in love with an English woman. Therein lay the genes that spawned my life. My name is Sheinina Lolita Raj, a person born of distinctly diverse ancestry, culturally, linguistically, religiously and physically. I’ve spent a lifetime being misunderstood. When the colour of my skin presents an unfamiliar reference, inevitably barriers of discriminative notions are formed. In honour of my heritage and my life that has been afforded to me due to the sacrifice and courage of my ancestors, I created Intercultural, an immersive vision and sound art experience that initiates respect for diversity and unifies humanity for a peaceful coexistence. This part of my untold story is also the inspiration behind a touring art exhibition that features a quadrophonic collaboration with Nelly Furtado, on exhibit now at the Lois Lambert Gallery in Santa Monica, CA.” Sheinina Lolita Raj, Intercultural Artist