Guess Who: Asian Edition
GRADUATION YEAR 2020 MINERVA ART ACADEMY
VISUAL DESIGNER, PHOTORAPHER, ART DIRECTOR
As a woman born and raised in The Netherlands with Chinese roots, pitching my graduation project in 2019 about racism and discrimination in a white dominated academy was a challenge. Educating white teachers who didn’t believe that racism and discrimination towards people with East and Southeast Asian roots exist.
This once again showed how important it is to raise awareness about these topics. Racism and discrimination towards people with East and Southeast Asian roots are normalized in The Netherlands that it’s often overlooked.
Because of colonialism and white supremacy, racist stereotypes about different communities are shown in Dutch Media. This leads to negative prejudice and racist behaviour.
Many communities from Asia are forgotten in policies about inclusivity, anti-racism and discrimination. In The Netherlands, the word ‘Asian’ often only refers to Chinese or East Asians (China, Korea and Japan) while Asia is a massive continent with a rich diversity of cultures, languages and people. Generalizing and acting like Asians are a
a homogeneous community hurts and ignores Asian communities.
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, verbal and physical racism towards people with East and Southeast Asian roots couldn’t be ignored anymore. This also convinced my white teachers that this is really happening in the world.
– Create real representation to show real people with Asian roots
– Break the racist prejudice that people with Asian roots look like each other
– Uplift Asian communities with real representation
– Raise awareness and open conversations about racism and discrimination towards people with East and Southeast Asian roots
When releasing my graduation project presentation in 2020 with my research, this went viral on Instagram. With 83.000 views, 8965 saves, 375 comments and 3608 likes. It was also reposted on the Instagram account of Madeleijn van den Nieuwenhuizen from @zeikschrift, with 91.000 views, 162 comments and 3864 likes. Several famous Dutch people have reposted my graduation presentation in their story.
In 2021 and before the release of the exhibition I was interviewed by Frysan local newspaper Rondom vandaag and svjmedia, a student journalism platform.
In the beginning of May 2022, when the exhibition finally opened at OBA Oosterdok. Several mainstream media outlets wanted to interview me about Guess Who: Asian edition. Linda.nl, EditieNL (RTL Nieuws), FunX, NPO Radio 1, NOS nieuws, NOS Stories (294k views) and local radio stations.
The news coverage helped with creating more awareness and opening up conversations about racism and discrimination towards Asian communities. By visiting the exhibition, people could play the game themselves.
The potential and vision for the future is that the life-sized version will travel to different locations in The Netherlands. Visiting schools, businesses and open spaces so various people can play and interact with the portraits. Creating the game in different languages such as English so the game can be played internationally.