About the talk:
The 2021 spa killings in Atlanta Georgia, whose slain victims were mostly working-class immigrant Asian/American women workers, put a spotlight on the racial violence Asians encounter in everyday life, but also the gender economic violence confronting Asian women. Against a media’s focus on them as “faceless” targets of hate, artists have stepped into the fray to rupture a sense of helplessness. This Illuminations event co-sponsored with the Department of Global Studies gathers some of the most innovative writers, visual artists, musicians, performers on the contemporary art scene. Responding to structural violence through “creative dissent,” these Southeast Asian artists (Filipina, Cambodian, Hmong, Vietnamese) not only challenge Asian stereotypes, but highlight often marginalized and overlooked subgroups. All are California residents and will speak to the Asian American Californian experience as well.

About the speakers:
Phung Huynh is a Cambodian-Vietnamese American visual artist (drawing, design, installation, painting), who is also an Associate Professor of Art at Los Angeles Valley College. Her work considers how Asian women have been represented in the Western gaze and the impact of patriarchy on Asian women’s bodily perceptions. Her pieces include titles like “Resistance Matriarch” and “Resistance Virgin,” “Bestqualitydaughter.” Such work seeks to capture the mood of Asian women, straight, non-binary etc. As a refugee of war, she interrogates the notion of “becoming American” using interviews with real people to uncover the complex layers of identities that reveal our shared humanity, which is often veiled by inhumanity.

May Yang is an artist and scholar publishing under the nom de plum hauntie. Yang’s debut collection, To Whitey and the Cracker Jack (Anhinga Press, 2017) was awarded the 2016 Robert-Dana Anhinga Poetry Prize. Their work has appeared in the Academy of American Poets, Poetry Moves, and the Journal of S.E.A.A. Education and Advancement. Yang is a graduate fellow at UC Merced in the department of Interdisciplinary Humanities working at the intersection of Critical Race and Ethnic Studies and Critical Refugee Studies. They center Hmong artistic practices as praxis with the potential to upend colonial and imperial powers.

Kuttin Kandi is a renowned disabled Filipinx-Pin[a/x]y-American queer theater performer, educator, hip-hoop feminist, and Community Organizer. She is also known as DJ Kuttin Kandi and is widely regarded as one of the most legendary and accomplished womxn DJs in the world. Kandi is the Co-Editor of the book "Empire of Funk: Hip Hop & Representation in Filipino/a America". Kandi is an activist, organizer, writer, and artist who also co-founded Asian Solidarity Collective, a San Diego organization working to create Asian solidarity with other marginalized and oppressed communities experiencing hate.

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