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Art in Connecticut that complicates anti-Asian stereotypes — a photo essay

Chinatown Chronicles explanation
Brian Scott-Smith
Chinatown Chronicles explanation

The work of 20 artists is being showcased to break down cultural stereotypes about the Asian American community in the U.S.

The art exhibition called “Chinatown Chronicles” is on display at Eastern Connecticut State University until March 9, before heading to Wesleyan University. It includes a series of paintings, ceramics and documentaries.

Julia Wintner, Eastern’s coordinator of gallery and museum services, said the exhibition touches on old and current issues.

“In this exhibition 20 artists respond to the old historical stereotypes but also a new tension that COVID brought to the Asian American community,” Wintner said. “The violence against them has been escalating and there are several art works in this exhibition that reflect this recent rise of violence.”

The exhibition takes its inspiration from the novel by Charles Yu called “Interior Chinatown” and the dissonance between the American Dream and real-life experiences of immigrants.

Terrence Cheng, president of Connecticut State Colleges & Universities, who is a Chinese immigrant, said these are important conversations that just don’t happen enough.

“Have the opportunities to have this kind of dialogue and this exchange of knowledge, history and ideas and so certainly this type of work I think makes inroads in protecting against and hopefully diffusing negativity towards Asians and others,” Cheng said, “but it continues to be out there, so I don’t think the fight is going to be over any time soon, but this is part of that work.”

An award-winning freelance reporter/host for WSHU, Brian lives in southeastern Connecticut and covers stories for WSHU across the Eastern side of the state.