January 20, 2023

January 2023 Cultural Work Roundup

Header image: the Year of the Tiger, fire works, 2022, Giclee print, 18 x 12"

Welcome to January’s Cultural Work Roundup and the Year of the Rabbit! The Roundup is an interview of a local BIPOC cultural worker and the things they’ve been taking in and putting out into the world. APANO recognizes that solidarity is an integral part of cultural change, that our society is built on the disproportionate exploitation and oppression of Black and Indigenous people, and that Pacific Islander communities have been marginalized in the work of Asian/Asian American visibility. So, the Roundup prioritizes emerging Black, Indigenous, and Pasifika artists, as well as emerging Asian/Asian American and POC artists who are doing solidarity work through a BIPOC/intersectional lens. This month, I got the pleasure to interview: Qi You - an artist sharing her awakenings as a new American citizen in a time of change! Read on to learn more about her art, how she uses “kong fu” to create harmonious new realities, and what she’s been taking in from her new home.

What’s your name and pronouns?

my name is qi
琦 Mandarin: qí.
Cantonese: kei.
Japanese: ki, gi.
Korean: gi.
Vietnamese: kỳ, kì.

chi is a fit-in version which is fine for me as well.
i use she/her/hers pronouns.

Where do you call home?

my homes are many, a lot of the in between.

i was born and raised in a residential neighborhood in Beijing.

right now Portland is my “home to home”. i define this place as my home because i have grown so much of myself in this part of the land: ideas and consciousness formed more than ever. the intersectional understanding of my experiences and places where i have lived become my spiritual shelter, protecting me well and fueling me to keep going. a lot of the time for me, home is also about figuring things out.

What does “cultural work” mean to you? How does your art fit within it?

i think i really found part of my voice and new art language around cultural work. my social awakening came just in the past few years but i am grateful and treasure this opportunity of understanding and being part of the wave/movement.

i do find nuances between the definitions of “culture” in this country and my home country. In China, when we refer to “culture” it often dates back to 5000 years ago. but in America, “culture” is more of the now and future. it is a daily-based creating and redefining work. and it’s very personal. so cultural work seems very satisfied with me questioning my art either for the art world, curators or for more connective, relevant people.

my art expands from two-dimensional to time based media, but is not limited to art and social practice in any corners or cracks in our daily life wherever inspirations and energy exist.

the Year of the Dragon, 2013, Giclee print, 12 x 12”

What does solidarity look like to you? How does it show up in your art?

to me, solidarity is about finding common ground, pushing our values out into the reality, but more importantly, it is also about sharing different opinions, to truly express where i am at, since our paths and the level of understanding can be different. i do not want to skip this process of learning back and forth. just like the country itself, it’s not a straight line.

one of my long term projects, Guo Nian Hao, is a great example.

it is a group of Chinese zodiac sign prints composed with logos/trademarks made right before the Lunar new year since 2011.

but in 2021, the year of the ox, things quietly changed in my consciousness. following the energy of social change, i spoke up by creating the ox image more boldly. i combined culture outside of my own heritage, to bring cultures together and create a new myth kind of thing. in some superstitions the black background means unlucky. but in the action of my prints is being solidarity, a cultural shift and inner responsibility.

the black background indicated finding lights in the dark, and somehow there is still a bit of Chinese folk art feeling in it.

the Year of the Ox, tree of life, 2021, Giclee print, 18 x 12"

this also passed down to the year of the tiger 2022 prints. i never knew that the Vietnamese community also celebrates the Lunar new year until the past few years. reading Asian American history

i pushed the boundaries for the tiger image for more pan-Asian energy.

of course it all came from this new identity and affirmation growing inside of me. i hope the vibration in the prints would transfer to more folks, reaching to any culture as well. we celebrate the coming year through a spiritual animal, it doesnt have anything to do with Merrill Lynch itself.

the Year of the Tiger, Tết, 2022, Giclee print, 12 x 12"

What’s your dream, vision, schemings of a liberated future, new world, etc.? How does your art connect to it?

i think big questions always come down to simple answers.

Peace on Earth. it actually really means a lot.

following the transformation of Chinese red poster no longer as traditional, to putting myself in a larger global context as an American artist, i see logo is a mutual visual element/connection in our modern lives, equally as symbols in the cave paintings in the stone age.

the language of logos that i have been incorporating in my art for 13 years is meant to compose a new scene out of original individual contexts. i envision this coexistence harmoniously by using my visual “kong fu” (功夫: gong fu). my Chinese professors refer that as an artist, the basic foundation of composing and building imageries through visual languages and skills.

i believe my “kong fu” can make the impossible possible, to provide the paths for folks to reimagine a more peaceful Earth. and realize how interconnected we all are.

Love our differences board/card design, 2021

What have you been getting involved with or practicing that brings you closer to your solidarity work (like groups, meditation, learning circles, etc.)?

collectively, i have always been involved or engaged in things on a pace of my own.

there is so much for me to learn about this country as an immigrant. i also have to think independently with my unique experience.

so i decided to take my time.

that’s why i keep myself a lot more open regarding collaborations. more importantly holding space for myself and people who might like me is important. because sometimes we are easily ignored because of some sorts of stereotypes. that so-called privilege could become vulnerability, and vice versa.

to be more specific, i learned a lot from being an AMP member and checking out opportunities to learn about surrounding communities and its history. being an active community member also has been inspiring for making my art. my art projects are getting more and more community based, like my project pdx lost and found. It is a community archives collecting lost and found objects/stories in the city inspired by the kind gesture we see randomly on the street: “a lost personal belonging placed quietly at an obvious spot waiting for its owner”

The project started very neutral until lately i am interested in having it focus on the stories of migration/relocation and gentrification. this practice is not just showing on the project outcome itself. but more importantly the stories behind the stories is fragile and i want to document it in our memories of putting things together for the project.

Collaboration with Superjoy coffee at Paseopdx 2022

What have you been watching that’s been inspiring you and/or informing your vision (from your social media feed, movies, TV shows, any other media)?

social media is hard to catch me. tv and film drown out the imagination space somehow.

but i found listening to the radio with our ongoing lived experience creates a more realistic media. i get inspired by local radio stations daily like NPR, OPB, and KBOO. It's hard to catch up on everything as a new immigrant, so i enjoy this slow process of broadening my awareness of the world. which is actually who i am as a person and an artist. i am very grateful we have a rich soil of discovery and rediscovery culture in this part of the land.

What have you been listening to that’s been giving you life (podcast recommendations, a song or album that gets you out of bed, etc.)?

i love the podcast On Being a lot. it collects interviews/conversations that fills up the “empty space” of all those hippy stores on the street. it is an American identity i found when i listened to it overseas. it provides me with a broader field of discovering humanity. it’s also like therapy for me, helping me organize my mind in a lot of our difficult times.

i am also a fan of The Slants and No-No Boy. i mentioned them a lot because i found them in my early awakening period. it was almost like the first time i experienced a musician who looks like me and sings for people like me. and especially in English.

i used to paw through audio shops in Beijing and listen to a lot of American music from Nirvana to Dinosaur Jr. but nothing like this feeling that is instinctively connected to them like The Slants and No-No Boy. it creates a sense of belonging, particularly when they are local musicians.

What’s the last thing you read that moved you (articles, books, poetry, whatever)?

checking my Libby…

In September, i read Rise, A Pop History of Asian America from the Nineties to Now by Jeff Yang, Phil Yu, and Philip Wang. Rise is the most recent book i read about Asian American history. unlike in textbook history, i surprisingly found a lot of the pop culture icons, from the Smashing Pumpkin to Anna Sui, that were shared memories even though i was an 80’s kid and grew up in Beijing. through my unique experience, i now recognize them as Asian American pop culture.

and Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit. gender and race together create another level of understanding for me to look at the issues here and the rest of the world around. but i guess at least i have the mind now, as my tool to get started. then i have to mention the book Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall. It really encouraged me to ask myself about feminism in my Asian identity. maybe that’s a next book i need to discover and read.

How do we get connected to your art and/or work?

i have all my artworks accessible on my website.

i have it updated pretty frequently. even though i know people probably check social media as the main source nowadays. but i like the relatively “traditional” platform because it is not forced. i like that i have to be thought of. you might think of me and then you knock on my little space to see what’s new.

it is more experience-centered over information. that’s why it has a lot of scrolling chronologically.

i will publish the year of the rabbit 2023 prints and relates before the Lunar new year day, as to mimic the custom that we stick the red poster right before the holiday.


this year i will have it printed out at AMP’s riso studio during Timme’s riso workshop. big thank you for that in advance. I see this decision for this project is also part of the solidarity as my determination for the work we are doing.

please check it out~

(copy and grammar editing by my librarian friend Jane.)

the Year of the Rabbit, 2011, Giclee print, 12 x 12"


Be our next featured artist or nominate an artist you know! If you would like to be featured in a future Cultural Work Roundup or would like to nominate someone, let me know by telling me a bit about yourself or the artist you know. The Roundup prioritizes emerging Black, Indigenous, and Pasifika artists, as well as emerging Asian/Asian American and POC artists who are doing solidarity work through a BIPOC/intersectional lens. The interview can be done over coffee, Zoom, or email! You can contact me by:

We’re also sharing local offerings, events, etc. from community members in the Roundup. Send your opportunities to Grace by the 20th of each month!



Radical Rest’s Village Lab Salon: Creating Care - Building Love as Resilience

When: January 15, 12pm-3:30pm

Location: 3330 NW Luzon Portland OR 97210

Registration: www.radicalrest.org

Trauma can disrupt our individual capacity to recognize, receive and express care undermining our sense of belonging, our ability to resolve conflicts and to trust others. This has enormous implications for our ability to survive, rise and thrive in and as a collective. Using somatic and trauma-informed practices, in Creating Care, we explore our connections with one another as a primary resilience resource now and in the face of impending crises. Please join us for this BIPOC ONLY healing justice event facilitated by BIPOC facilitators.

Emergence Community’s Sovereignty Series: Location of “I”

When: January 20, 6pm-8pm

Location: Zoom

Registration: Register at fullflight.kartra.com as a guest or a subscriber

Location of "I", the inaugural workshop of the Sovereignty Series, deconstructs the ways that Empire (i.e. Capitalism, White Body Supremacy and Colonization) has shaped the way we embody our "individual" self. Through a series of somatic and imaginal practices, we will gesture toward a decolonized experience of self. Together, we will explore self as Soma Futura: a relational location of physiology, personal history, ancestry, collective history, and the more than human world, both material and ephemeral. In this way, together we can grow more possibilities for resilience in connection with a less fixed and bordered self. BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ folks welcome!!! $25 or $15-25 as a subscriber.

Give Pulse’s Black Liberation in Higher Education Teach-in: Radical and Revolutionary Hope

When: January 28th, 10am-3:30pm

Location: Zoom

Registration: Register at GivePulse. All approved registrants will receive a Zoom link to attend the teach-in

The tradition of Black organizing is predicated on radical and revolutionary hope; the work of envisioning a better world that does not yet exist.​​ In keeping with this history, this event will engage with topics of power-building, collaboration, remembering, and grieving all those lost to police violence, pandemic, and environmental racism. Moreover, this year's event will focus on the liberatory practice of truth-telling. Black people have always been at the forefront of liberatory movements in this country. This teach-in celebrates four centuries of striving for freedom, and a community’s refusal to move anywhere but forward. The MLK Racial Justice Campus Collaborative (RJCC) works with Campus Compact of Oregon to design programming that celebrates the history and narratives of Portland's Black community. Each year during and around Martin Luther King Day, the only national holiday committed to a Black leader, we invite all students, educators, and community members to join us and engage in reflection, dialogue, and collaborative learning.

Augury House’s Breaking Ground: A Lunar New Years Celebration

When: January 21 to February 5

Location: Portland Center Stage and Virtual

Registration: Follow @augury.house on Instagram for more information

The 2023 Lunar New Year marks the year of the Black Rabbit which occurs once every 60 years. BREAKING GROUND is an exhibition by Carissa Te-Hsuan Chu to celebrate the 2023 Lunar New Year and serve as a conceptual opening ceremony of the Lone Fir Cemetery Block 14 Garden. Presented by Augury House, the multimedia exhibition explores the notion of “radical grace” within a cyclical framework. BREAKING GROUND will be exhibited at Portland Center Stage during January 21st through February 5th and will be accompanied by a series of installations, workshops and an interactive livestream.

This programming message brought to you by APANO Communities United Fund, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.