March 18, 2019

Meet the Artists and Writers Behind Families, Reimagined

Families come in all shapes, forms, and sizes, yet not all families receive the rights, recognition, and resources they need to thrive. One of APANO’s top priorities this legislative session is Paid Family and Medical Leave, bill aims to put into policy an inclusive definition of family. Part of APANO’s Cultural Work efforts, our Families, Reimagined project will commission original art and writing that express our expansive, evolutionary definitions of home, family, and community. We are so thrilled to be working with the following artists and writers for the project, who were selected through an open call process:

Ameya Marie is an 18-year-old artist and activist who deconstructs social injustice and biased behavior through art. An artist in the #BlackLivesMatter movement, she connects with families impacted by racialized violence and creates illustrations that neutralize the negativity of images of humans unjustly killed. Her protest art and work in youth advocacy and education has taken her to the White House as a US Presidential Scholar in Art and been awarded by organizations like Adobe Project 1324, GLSEN, and US Department of Education, and she was recently honored by the National YoungArts Foundation as a 2018 Finalist in Visual Art.

Kunal Mehra lives in Portland. He likes to write, take photos, hike, make movies and listen to fun music.

Pamela K. Santos is a Pinayorker writer and teaching artist creating multilingual narratives on diasporic identity and hyphenated selves. A 2019 recipient of an Oregon Literary Fellowship, her poetry appears in Tayo Magazine, Anomaly, Newtown Literary, Stoked Words, and elsewhere. She co-founded Portland’s first Winter Poetry Festival, the Bitter Melon collective for femme and NBOC artists, and Pacific Underground radio/podcast. Pamela curates the Sari Not Sari exhibition series by Filipinx artists in conversation with each other and is in the process of producing plays by Filipinx playwrights. She is also known for her bomb lumpia.

Christina Tran makes tender, autobio comics and essays that pull us toward a more compassionate world. She has been making webcomics since 2014 and self-publishing zines since 2015. Her artmaking is influenced by her backgrounds in design, teaching, and community work. Find her online or in-person at the renegade community art space called Mt. Caz.

Jake Vermaas is a poet and engineer in Portland, OR, and the co-founder of the Whitenoise Project, a reading and discussion series aiming to center writers of color and underrepresented voices. A 2018 Oregon Literary Fellow in poetry and Jade-Midway Placemaking Grant recipient, his work has appeared in Anthem, Tayo Literary Magazine, Gramma Poetry, and Capitalism Nature Socialism.

Performance maker Lu Yim is interested in embodied knowledge in relation to language. They are consistently in retrograde, moving with a dramaturgical process and undertaking research that does not always appear to move in the same direction as their dances. The material alchemy that occurs in their work is opaque and with non-linear consequences. They are part of artist run groups Physical Education and pidzn club, creating collaborative spaces and gatherings that begin as they come to be. Lu is a queer, trans, 1.5 generation Korean-American. They are a recent MFA graduate in Sculpture from the Milton Avery School of Fine Arts at Bard College (‘19).

Over the next two months, the artists will be hard at work crafting their stories and artwork, which address the following prompt: Chosen, multigenerational, multinational, biological, and more: our families and communities of care take on a vast spectrum of forms. Who do you care for, and who cares for you? How is your family visible and invisible? How is your family supported and unsupported?

Stay tuned for their unveiling in May for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month!