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Reflecting Selves: Asian American Artists in Texas presents five Texas-based artists pushing against societal perceptions of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community.
Asian Americans have been integral members of American society for over 200 years. Historically perceived by many Americans as “The Other” or the perpetual foreigner, Asian Americans felt immense pressure to assimilate into American standards. By the 1980s, the model minority myth cemented the stereotype that Asian Americans are the best example of those who achieve the American Dream.
Increased media visibility of acts of violence against Asian Americans has motivated the AAPI community and their allies to stand together.
The artworks in this exhibition depict diverse Asian American experiences in American society due to harmful, discriminatory thoughts, actions, and perceptions. Reflecting Selves: Asian American Artists in Texas refutes the model minority myth and stereotypes.
Reflecting Selves: Asian American Artists in Texas is organized for the McNay Art Museum by Philana Li, 2021-2022 Semmes Foundation Intern in Museum Studies; and Leslie Straus, Archivist and Assistant Registrar.
This exhibition is a program of the Semmes Foundation Internship in Museum Studies.
Image: Antonius-Tín Bui, REMODEL MINORITY, 2019. Courtesy of the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago.
[O]ften the framework of identity, especially within the arts, flattens and reduces our humanity to something that can be quantified, exploited, consumed, and marketed.
Whenever asked about the ways I identify, I daydream of all the boundless, infinite ways we’ll be able to not only identify, but be seen, respected, and loved beyond the English language. A queer utopia where I am celebrated for everything I am, not just for the work I produce.
Individuals of Asian descent who moved away from the countries racially or ethnically to different countries.
The prejudice and discrimination against individuals with a darker complexion over individuals with a lighter complexion; this is common among people of the same ethnic or racial group. Within Asian communities, colorism is a significant issue because it implies that they were not laborers and stayed indoors. Additionally, there is a bias toward Western beauty standards – such as a lighter skin tone.
The internal perception of one’s gender, and how they label themselves, based on how much they align or don’t align with what they understand their options for gender to be, including genderqueer, and transgender.
The theory that social identities such as race, class, sexuality, gender, and disability create overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage
Shorthand for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (or other gender identities), and Queer (individuals who don’t identify as straight and/or cisgender) and/or Questioning (individuals who are unsure about or exploring their own sexual orientation or gender identity).
Is a statement, action, or incident regarded as indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against members of a marginalized group such as a racial or ethnic minority.
The myth juxtaposes Asian Americans against other individuals of color and creates a hierarchy where Asian people are often represented at the top. This term is problematic because it encourages division amongst the racial minorities within the United States instead of acting as a united front.
Belonging to two or more societies with different ideologies and cultures at the same time.
Individuals of a racial or ethnic background are adopted by parents of a different racial or ethnic background.
The dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries.
Stop AAPI Hate (https://stopaapihate.org/) – In response to the alarming escalation in xenophobia and bigotry resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, AAPI Equity Alliance (AAPI Equity), Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA), and the Asian American Studies Department of San Francisco State University launched the Stop AAPI Hate coalition on March 19, 2020. The coalition tracks and responds to incidents of hate, violence, harassment, discrimination, shunning, and child bullying against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States.
Stop DiscriminAsian (https://www.stopdiscriminasian.org/) – Stop DiscriminAsian (SDA) is a coalition of workers within arts and culture who are confronting the racism, xenophobia and violence towards diasporic Asians that have been amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic. SDA seeks to expand awareness through the galvanization of individual voices in solidarity with other marginalized communities to expose and subvert the systemic racism and economic injustice exacerbated by this unprecedented moment of global emergency.
The Trevor Project (https://www.thetrevorproject.org/) – The Trevor Project is the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning) young people.
Asian Pride Project (http://asianprideproject.org/) – “an online space for family and friends of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Asian & Pacific Islander (API) people. It is a place to share our stories and experiences with each other, in the languages of our communities, in video, sound, pictures, and words. Together, we can move towards understanding and celebrating our families and friends for who they are.”
The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (http://www.nqapia.org/wpp/) – “The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance is a network of Asian, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander LGBTQ organizations.”
The Visibility Project (http://www.visibilityproject.org/) – “A national portrait + video collection dedicated to the Queer Asian American Women & Trans* community. The Visibility Project breaks barriers through powerful imagery and storytelling.”
Coming Out: Living Authentically as LGBTQ Asian and Pacific Islander Americans by Human Rights Campaign Foundation (https://assets2.hrc.org/files/assets/resources/HRC-Coming_Out-API-FINAL-web-2018.pdf) – LGBTQ resource guide helping Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders with the coming out process.
These resources are independent of the McNay Art Museum.
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