Just coming back from my holiday in Asia ( China, Singapore and Malaysia) I realised we actually don't know and most of all don't understand each other's cultures.

Malaysia and Singapore are countries full of different cultures. A part of the population is Chinese, Indians, and the Malaysians are also separated in muslim and non-muslim. When you walk through the cities you see an amazing mix and integration from those different cultures. Different Mosques,  Churches and Temples are so close positioned that you feel an international vibe.

But when I visited a Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, some non-muslim international tourists were walking on the praying carpets. Even when the guide told them they weren't allowed to walk on the praying carpets they kept on walking on them and taking pictures. Without listening to any information they left the mosque. I was shocked.

How come we don't know so much about other cultures? Is this ignorance or do we know really so less about other cultures?

Grown up in a Western world as a Asian looking female I have been brought up with several stereotypes. People on the street screaming 'ni hao' to me, without considering I am a Belgian, and yet telling ourselves we are the living in one of the better developed parts of the world. Yes, on economic level we can say we are developed but I am not sure about the cultural level. Still we are fighting to remove mosques from our countries, and are still judging several culture groups because of background or past events.

For me living in between different cultures makes it sometimes very frustrating but also very interesting on another level. I get certain habits from different cultures and I try to make it my own.

I have been working on living in between as a topic for several projects and for this project I would like to work more on the topic 'understanding cultures'. I get the feeling we have to try more and from their on respect will come with it.

I am up for any collaborations and approaches from different people and backgrounds!


  1. Dengke Chen | 10.20.2017

    Hello Tatjana,

    I’m interested to know more details about the video you posted. Is this a project you’ve done earlier, and what is the context of this project? As I see in the video, a African girl is performing Taichi (太極) 扇子舞, which is a sample of Asian culture. Her dress up and hand fan are Asian looked as well. Based on Asian culture my stereotype doubts how deep people from other religion can understand Taichi, but it showed in this video that the performer is skilled on it.


  2. Grazia | 10.12.2017

    I agree with you, Tatjana, that we are very ignorant about, and often nor respectful, of other cultures. As the world becomes more globalised, learning and understanding about the cultures around it become more and more urgent.
    People like you, who live ‘in between’ two or more cultures, can play a great role in helping this communication!

  3. Nathi Khumalo | 10.7.2017

    i think we as artists have an obligation to our society to firstly identify the stereotypes and to talk about them in our work, it is in my opinion very important to be able to navigate around the stereotypes in order to understand each other.

  4. Sarasija Subramanian | 10.3.2017

    The politics in cultural differences and the fact that we so instinctively separate ourselves from others based on these gaps in history is something that in a country like India is magnified, where within the country itself the diversity is immense. In more ways than one, the gaps seem to very rarely act as a bridge, instead acting as a space for built up tension.

    The project sounds very interesting, but remarkably vast. Maybe narrowing down on one aspect of culture to level the playing field will help!

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