A’misa Chiu on institutions, care, and support through art
Unveiling We are working toward a just world where… Institutions are built around the inherent worth and dignity of all people and are designed and function as systems of care and support, not systems of criminalization and control.
Our fourth artwork in our We are working toward a just world where… series comes from A’misa Chiu.
A’misa Chiu is a fourth generation Yonsei Japanese American illustrator, zinester, community organizer, and the Electronic Services and Instruction Librarian at Warner Pacific College, where she finds great joy in assisting college students to hone their research skills. A’misa made her first zine in 2008, and never stopped. This led her to become one of the main organizers of the Portland Zine Symposium and find like-minded zinesters in the Women of Color Zine Collective. She co-founded the East Portland Holiday Bazaar, and is excited to continue to build community in East Portland where she and her family reside. www.amisachiu.com
Institutions are built around the inherent worth and dignity of all people and are designed and function as systems of care and support, not systems of criminalization and control.
As a zinester, I appreciate any effort of independent publishing, and thought that the newspapers that were printed within the concentration camps of World War II was a prime example of people exercising self-determination while imprisoned. As I attempted to connect with APANO’s core value #4: Institutions as systems of care, not criminalization and control, I thought about the resilience and resolve of the Japanese people to cope with their forced incarceration and detention during World War II. This was the Japanese taking care of their community, and perhaps, a reminder to stay engage, active, and involved in the events that took place within the camp, as well as outside news. It was a community effort to regain their humanity that had been stripped from them from the U.S. government, and reminder to keep vigilant upon the idea that resistance against the barbed wire that corraled them in, can come in a mimeographed independently made weekly newsprint.
More about the series
Launched in celebration of Asian Pacific Heritage Month, We are working toward a just world where… commissioned six unique Asian and Pacific Islander artists to create original artwork envisioning a world of solidarity, justice, and empowerment. Each artist was selected through an open call application process and chose one of APANO’s core values to illustrate. Their artwork reflects the depth of our experiences and envisions the shared future we want to see: a prosperous, healthy future in which our families and communities have the rights, recognition, and resources to truly thrive.
This project amplifies APANO’s cultural work strategy, which seeks to use creativity to center the voices and experiences of Asian and Pacific Islanders, shift harmful narratives, and envision alternatives. It was strongly inspired by Strong Families’ Mama’s Day and Trans Day of Resilience projects, which we encourage you to explore. Learn more about our cultural work here and read about Asian Pacific American Heritage Month here.