Cece: Describe your art/writing style.
Sophia: I enjoy working in black and white.
Cece: What or who are your artistic or literary inspirations?
Sophia: I really like childrens’ books.
Cece: What was your inspiration for this piece?
Sophia: When I draw people, I usually draw them to look like me.
Cece: What stories would you like to see told/do you want to tell about the AAPI experience?
Sophia: There are a lot of East Asian and South Asian stories, but it would be nice to see more South East Asian as well! I also feel like there is a lot of discussion around being an immigrant or a child of immigrants, so I’m interested to see more narratives from second+ gen creatives. The bubble of Asian-American artists and writers (in particular) is very real in that we seldom reach out to other POC as subjects/collaborators/etc.
Cece: What steps can we take to exit this bubble and work with other communities?
Sophia: As someone who was not raised in an Asian family, I’ve often found it hard to fit in with my Asian peers. Outsiders may view us the same, but rather than the experience of moving through the world in an Asian body forming the basis of an Asian-American identity, it seems to be the ethnic culture and tradition that forms connections.This leads me to believe perhaps there is a fear that reaching out of the Asian bubble to uphold solidarity among POC may homogenize the Asian community as a racial category instead of acknowledging the multiethnic reality. However, I think it’s possible to claim a Pan Asian identity that focuses on the experience of POC in general, without neglecting what it means to be an Asian-American.
Cece: How should society deal with Asian American/POC representation in the media?
Sophia: There’s a need to play up a POC identity in order to meet people’s expectations, while maintaining an assimilated persona as a reassurance. This creates a lot of representations that are built on relatability and tropes, which I honestly find kind of grating. So in a way, I hope that POC in the media will become less about mass representation and more about a unique individual that other POC may identify with to varying degrees.