Performing race and remaking identity: Chinese visual artists in New York during the COVID-19 pandemic | Intellect Skip to content
1981
Volume 9, Issue 1-2
  • ISSN: 2051-7041
  • E-ISSN: 2051-705X

Abstract

The mass shooting in Atlanta that killed eight people including six Asian women in March 2021 marked the new peak of the unceasing waves of anti-Asian violence since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States. In this context, this article examines how a group of Chinese visual artists in New York perform and remake their Asian identity on social media in response to a surge in hatred towards and violence against Asians in the United States following the outbreak of COVID-19. Based on my analysis of their visual rhetoric and media activism, I identify three approaches that this group of Chinese visual artists use to perform and remake their Asian identity. First, they performed their Asian identity by developing various visual rhetorics to combat and denounce anti-Asian discourse and hate crime. Second, their Asian identity emerged when they created new visual rhetoric to reimagine what it meant to be Asian in the United States. The new visual rhetoric enriched the understanding of Asian-ness and diversified the experiences of being Asian in the United States by overtly or subtly challenging Asian stereotypes as a product of the western imagination. Lastly, they claimed their Asian identity through seeking racial justice in a larger social context in collaboration with other racial minority groups.

Funding
This study was supported by the:
  • Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility Ph.D. Research (Award 2020–21)
  • New School for Social Research Dissertation Fellowship 2021–22
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2022-07-01
2024-02-29
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