Each issue we feature art created by Asian women around the world. Here are this issue’s pieces!
“美国旗袍 Beautiful [American] Cheong Sam” by Annika Cheng Find her at: https://www.annikacheng.com & IG: @meijia_design Medium: Found Fabrics
Artist’s note: “Beautiful [American] Cheong Sam examines the way I see the world as a Cantonese American living between two cultures. The Cheong Sam is a traditional dress worn in Hong Kong, and it is something I grew up wearing. It was something I was always proud of because I thought it showed off the beauty of my culture. In our current day and age, this garment has been appropriated many times, whether it be someone wearing it to their prom, Halloween companies using it as an “ethnic costume”, Western high fashion taking an “oriental” approach to design or even porn websites using it for yellow fever scenes. This piece is meant to interrogate how this garment has changed in meaning for me, and by extension, comment on how I see myself existing in America.
The dress creates the word 美 (mei), meaning beautiful. But the same word is used in the phrase for America, 美国 or the beautiful country. Using this word in the dress questions whether this dress truly represents traditional Chinese beauty, or if it has been completely appropriated and taken by America. This word takes on further meaning because it is my Chinese middle name. The black lace that forms the word also brings up connotations of lingerie, sexualization, and fetishization. The placement of the opaque cloth just barely covers my body, furthering these ideas.
This work reflects how I see both myself and America. I am the same as the Cheong Sam, as I am truly Chinese but have been completely assimilated into American culture. But at the same time, my Asian body and identity are a place of constant sexualization and fetishization from a Western gaze. I need to constantly question whether I am the colonizer, or the colonized; the appropriator, or the appropriated.”
Artist’s note: “Los Animales is a series of illustrations inspired by the people who work, study, play and live in the diverse city of Sydney. The animal figures are symbolisms of the virtues that help us survive the daily grind. These virtues are courage, individuality, creativity, wisdom, resilience, boldness, compassion, and love. Inside each and every person, there is a leader, rebel, traveler, nurturer, hustler, dreamer, artist and lover. I combine the animal and human form to inspire empathy and respect for each other and for all creatures big and small.”
Fervour and Agility (series) by Reeti Roy Medium: Acrylic on canvas
Overachiever Magazine was started by Rehana Paul in October of 2018 to give a platform to all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities.
Our name is poking fun at the stereotype that all Asians are overachievers, especially Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. It’s also in recognition of all of us who have had no choice but to be overachievers: managing societal expectations, family obligations, and educational opportunities, all while fighting the patriarchy.
We have grown since then, putting out bimonthly issues (we are contributor powered: apply to write for our next one!), and weekly reviews of culture, and news that is important to us.
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We do not claim to speak for all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. We are just here to give them a place to speak for themselves.