Hey everyone. I hope you are doing well and staying safe. I don't have too much news to share these days. It seems like this whole virus situation is here to stay and I am uncertain I will be able to return to China anytime soon for work. If the EU is refusing travelers from the US, I would assume China to do the same, and for good reason. But I don't have too much to complain about as I have a roof over my head in a rural area that is OK for now in terms of ou breaks. I have been thinking more about the future direction I want to take this podcast as I normally have been interviewing friends and others I have met in person, but with the current situation, I have been thinking about expanding out. Of course, I am a bit nervous about moving forward this way. I have a number of interviews I still need to release before this happens, but the time will come soon enough. It may be for the better for this podcast.
In any case, for today, I am interviewing Didier William. Originally from Port-au-prince Haiti, Didier moved to Miami as a Creole-speaking 6-year old. His interests in art blossomed there and he went on to earn his BFA in painting from The Maryland Institute College of Art and an MFA in Painting and Printmaking from Yale University. Currently, Didier is Assistant Professor of Expanded Print at Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. I first met Didier while I was at a residency in Vermont this past winter and was able to interview him around March, just as COVID's presence began being felt in the US and prior to the recent protests around the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and many others that have surfaced with each passing week. I've been thinking a lot about how I release my episodes weeks, months, and sometimes years after the initial interview and what it means in terms of relevancy. It is something I need to figure out. Anyway, for this interview, Didier and I chat about trying to find agency in stillness, the concious privileging of certain languages, and maintaining an honest conversation about social complexities. Again, stay safe, stay healthy, and I hope you enjoy this.
Follow Seeing Color:
Hey everyone. I hope y'all are hanging in there. I hope everyone is maintaining social distancing if you can and staying safe and healthy in the mind and body. It took me a bit to start back up with editing the podcasts. I took this time to deep dive back into my unreleased materials that I never got around to releasing for one reason or another and then got too embarrassed to release them so late. But better late than never. So for the next few episodes I'll be going a bit back to some older conversations I had done.
Anyway, for today, I am chatting with the wonderful Sonja John, a queer first generation New York City-based artist, educator, and poet I met last January in Vermont. Sonja received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2017 and her contributions to museum education and visual art have been featured at the RISD Museum, The New Yorker, and Hyperallergic. Drawing from flora and fauna native to her parents' homelands of Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, and the Philippines, Sonja's work seeks to interrogate theories of color, belonging, contested geographic and biological bodies, and post-colonial effects on landscape and culture. We talk about these topics and so much more in our conversation. As I edited this episode, I really enjoyed listening to Sonja's laughing and her smart witty commentaries. It made my work much easier, especially since I didn't feel motivated to do edit this week. In any case, I hope you enjoy this episode and I'll be back in two weeks. Stay safe and healthy in the meantime and goodbye for now.
Follow Seeing Color:
Hey everyone. I have a brief update to share about the show and some thoughts in light of the recent events. But before I do, I want to say loudly and clearly that Black Lives Matter. As an Asian-American, I think about the way anti-Blackness is embedded throughout Asian culture and society. I think about how this anti-Black sentiment showed itself when Asian-American communities rallied around NYPD officer Peter Liang for murdering Akai Gurley. I think about the affirmative action lawsuit against Harvard that Asians supported as being driven by the same anti-Black sentiment. And of course, there was the Hmong-American police officer standing by as George Floyd was murdered. If there is one thing that has driven me to create this podcast, it is the belief that true freedom cannot come at the expense of Black lives. I think silence in anti-Black violence will not give Asian any true place in a racist white supremacist world. The lacking of self-awareness and propagating anti-Black and anti-Brown rhetoric just so certain Asian can get ahead will not lead to a better place. My heart goes out to everyone protesting on the streets and doing the hard work to elevate Black voices and not black squares.
Regarding this show, I did not release an episode last week. When I sat down to write the intro, no words came out. My podcast and voice seemed trite. I took it as a sign to not release my episode if I had to force words out when they were not ready. I also felt the voices that needed to be heard were Black voices. I then thought about this in relation to remaining silent and don’t have a clear answer. When I set out to make this podcast, I wanted to be able to confront my privilege as a Chinese-American cis male who went to college to study art and is a