SARIA ANAFEL DY
Photography by Celeste Noche
September 24, 2017
Name: Saria Anafel Dy
Background: Born in the Philippines, moved to the US when I was two years old, and grew up mostly in Salt Lake City with my big Filipino family. I moved to Portland in 2009 by myself to study Sociology at PSU.
Medium of choice: I’m a floral designer, and I lean towards specializing in seasonal flora and foliage that grows in the immediate area, as well as dried flowers.
Karaoke jam: Usually Johnny Cash or something along those lines.
“I acquired an immense affection and longing, as well as despise for this city.”
Tell us about one of your favorite Portland memories: I think many of my favorite memories in Portland didn’t take place in Portland, but moreso happened over the course of me living in Portland. They mostly include being in nature in the surrounding areas, without people around, and lazing by a river or mountainside somewhere.
Please share a time it was difficult living in Portland: I have a love and hate relationship with Portland, and I always have. Even when I first moved here, I was wanting to jump ship. And as time went on, I acquired an immense affection and longing, as well as despise for this city. Initially moving to Portland, I was happy to find a place where so many other people had similar taste and interests as me. Coming from Salt Lake City, it was rare to find others who were interested in counter cultures, which used to be dominant here in Portland. But the longer I was away from my family, the longer I began to feel lonely and disconnected to my culture, or any other culture at that (other than white culture), because well, Portland is just so white. This has been one of the driving factors of the difficulty I have had living in Portland. It feels stifling, stagnant, and isolating. Both personally and professionally.
How do you stay inspired in Portland? Honestly, I stay inspired by traveling or searching through the internet, learning about what other artists are doing in other countries. Not a lot of my inspiration comes from Portland itself. I would say the most inspiration I get from Portland is finding self empowerment by believing I deserve to succeed in a creative field, to carve a space for myself as a WOC and others like me, and to set an example for other WOC, because there are so far and few within my industry.
How can Portland support you and/or your community? White Portland can support me and my community by first listening and not becoming defensive as soon as the term “white people” is said by a POC. For Portland as a whole, there are obvious ways, like hiring POC, putting POC in leadership positions, and seeking to collaborate and work with other POC businesses and professionals who are already doing amazing work. In almost every instance in regards to companies I’ve ever worked for or collaborated with, I’ve been the only non-white person.