Adele H. Stamp Student Union - Center for Campus Life

Not Your Model Minority
Pandemic, Proximity, and Power

Wall 4 - Defining Home and Cultural Reclaiming / Object Repurposing 

Where is Home for the diasporic artist? Is it outside of borders, across oceans, in other people, or deep within? Is it physical, virtual, imaginary? Is Home inherited? Is Home listed in the Yellow Pages, or does it have a calling card? Can you feel it’s pulse, it’s magnetic pull? What does it mean to move back home, or reclaim the homeland? Can you hold it in your right hand? Where is Home for the immigrant, the refugee, the Asian American? 

The following works engage in the concept of home, cultural reclaiming and object repurposing, and movement and migration. Bui questions the role of US soldiers from the Vietnam War in the popularization of Zippo lighters as tourist commodities; Akireddy moves through different spaces she considers home; and huang delivers a monologue pondering the place of the racialized and pathologized Asian body within American and family history. 



Antonius-Tín Bui, End Your Silence (Self-Immolation), 2020. Personalized Zippo Lighters

Zippo lighters were carried by almost every American serviceman involved in the Vietnam War. Each lighter was a tiny canvas, showcasing slogans and images that displayed true sentiments about the war. This series reclaims the Zippo lighter through the lens of the child of Vietnamese refugees. The texts emblazoned on this lineup of Zippo lighters derive from anti-war slogans, Vietnamese and Vietnamese-American artists, Vietnam War era music, and other related sources.

Nibha Akireddy, Parachute Coconut Oil, 16” x 20”, oil on canvas panel, 2020

Akireddy’s Parachute Coconut Oil and Dry Shampoo are depictions of her daily life during the past few months of quarantine due to COVID-19. Her works are collages that are made up of fragments of her world, from mundane tasks of self-care and hygiene, to snippets of the critical self-reflection in the bathroom mirror.

Nibha Akireddy, Dry Shampoo, 24” x 36”, oil on wood panel, 2020

Nibha Akireddy, Makhani, 36” x 36”, oil on wood, 2020

This work is inspired by Bhangra, by a community of dancers that has formed one of my strongest communities, and by the beauty of movement. There’s so much power in learning how to carry yourself, how to hold your limbs and your posture and move confidently on a stage and through the world. This piece is inspired by a dance form that has taught me grace and confidence and expression in ways I never thought it could.

how to paint a rocking horse (excerpt) from stephanie mei huang on Vimeo.


stephanie mei huang, how to paint a rocking horse, 2020. VHS-c converted to digital, sound, found carousel horse, steel, oil, 12V power supply, windshield wiper motor, 11 minutes.

Filmed on March 30, from my kitchen in Los Angeles during the stay-at-home order, how to paint a rocking horse is a performative lecture that uses auto-theory to synthesize the COVID-19 crisis, racial grief, and the colliding temporalities that arise with resurfacing histories of anti-Chinese rhetoric within the American West.