Portable: Your work is very personal. Tell us a little about yourself and your family.

Elizabeth de la Piedra: I come from a Peruvian family that migrated to Australia in the late 80s. I was 2 when we re-located, so I had no recollection of Peru growing up in Australia. The move was definitely harder on my parents and older sister. She picked up English faster than my parents so she would go to translate at job interviews for them when she was 10, not to mention look after me and our baby sister while my parents worked full-time.

There was a very small South American community when we came to Australia. We didn’t have our food, our music, our people; it was lonely for us and strange for people who didn’t even know what a Peruvian person looked like. Usually people would guess we were Asian or mixed European and Islander. My parents, like so many immigrants, did a brave thing leaving their families and administration jobs behind to make the money they made doing physical labour in Australia. They built a life for us that way and we have so much to be thankful for, especially me. I couldn’t do what I do if it hadn’t been for my parents moving to Australia.