This topic came up recently in my ART 105 class because I am doing a group project with some of my classmates designing a billboard that looks into what is going in our country right now regarding asian hate.
Having a perspective on the Pacific Islander side of things, I sparked this conversation with my group members about the role that mothers play for their children, and in this case extended children.
There is this unspoken tradition of calling older women within the community aunties, as it is a form of respect.
I always would call friend’s moms from high school aunties when I would go over to their houses. The way that they treated me was always like another one of their daughters, feeding me and making sure that I was always okay even when not over at their house. To me, they were always more than aunties, feeling as though I grew up with multiple mothers.
Now, when their own children have gone away to college and I have stayed on island, they have brought me over food because they miss cooking for extra people. Honestly, I cry every time it happens because I am so grateful for their time and efforts in making me feel not alone during this difficult period in time.
I hope that I give them the same amount of comfort and validation during this especially difficult time as there is this virus of hate all across America against those within the AAPI community.
This is the unfinished billboard that I have been working on. It utilizes both addition and subtractive elements to tell this narrative of conflict dealing with Asian Americans. Not all of their stories have been told, erased from history.