After the terror earlier this month against our Asian community, we invited Burnaway contributors, writers, artists and friends in the AAPI community to use our platform in any way they wished to respond. Below are two submissions we received, unedited and presented without comment.
These two self-portraits were created about a decade ago when I moved to Atlanta.
It was not my intention to express any type of frustration in the works. I just wanted to paint myself back then and ended up having these works.
Because looking at the finished pieces made me depressed, I put away and forgot about them.
After hearing the incident last week and facing all ongoing hate crimes toward Asian, specially toward Asian women in this country, I look at the works again and find they still look relevant.
Sadness and distress only have become deeper in my immigrant life.
–In Kyoung Chun
My mom removed the skin from each orange slice, the pith of our work. This was a rare luxury to scrap something just because we could. She only did this when we were working in the kitchen- chopping scallions, scrubbing cabbage. We learned how to ferment in the basement apartment.
My bedroom had no real walls or door. The mismatched bed sheets were visible from the living room and kitchen. I created areas for my dolls to sunbathe and play. I dreamed of mansions. I didn’t know I could ask for privacy. I learned how to cure in the sunroom.
The windows looked out to a creek. The cattails and summer lighting bugs made it magic. We played badminton and screamed when we saw a large snake once. Another time we caught a small snake and left it in a jar. It took over a week to die. It looked like the eyes turned inside out, peering into itself. Was I a bitter child?
I thought I was strong then. I wanted to show everyone by lifting my uncle off the ground. We slipped, and he hit his head on the edge of the table. He ran back and forth in the small apartment yelling in pain. I cried and stayed at home too scared of what I did while my mom took him to the hospital. The night ended with a minor concussion and my favorite oxtail soup. My mom still has that table in her kitchen where we eat most meals.
Memories are the best flavor.
– Stephanie Kong