This One’s for my Asian Girls

by Emily Yang


“Dried’ is an imaginary scene in which the artist imagines her multiple identities (real and perceived) tumbling together in a dryer. Just underneath the seemingly playful imagery, there is a nod to the underlying violence of being seemingly happy while trapped in a machine; the constant jostling and unpredictable motion; the experience of beingunable to truly find rest.

Notes on Tang Ping

(to be printed on 2 cotton pillowcases)

Step 1: Put on your resting uniform
Step 2: Lay flat
Step 3: Calm your thoughts & close your eyes
Step 4: Tang Ping achieved

This print plays on the simplicity of the action of rest, while highlighting its political power and importance. Each block explains a step in the act of “Tang Ping,” a  new “trend” in China that has been “described as an antidote to society's pressures.”

"Lying flat is my wise movement," a user wrote in a since-deleted post on the discussion forum Tieba, adding: "Only by lying down can humans become the measure of all things.”’ (BBC)

This One’s for my Asian Girls
The Search for Asian Girls

This print was featured in the the Strategist (NY Mag)’s March 2021 article:
“25 Pieces of Wall Art From Asian and Asian American Artists.” Immediately afterward, the artist received multiple messages fromstrangers visiting her Etsy page, alerting her about explicit suggested
images relating to her work’s title “Asian girls.” Messages included:

“I popped to your Etsy store from NYMag. Your prints are great. But, I was
a little surprised that Etsy's algorithm surrounded your print with "You may
also like" ads for softcore topless pics for Asian fetishists. Does that bother
you? If so, has Etsy responded in any way?“

The images were shortly after a complaint was submitted to Etsy. However,
when last checked in July 2021, the top results for “Gsian girls” on Etsy
revealed sex toys that were marketed to emulate the female Asian form
and chinoiserie antiques painted with slit eyes.

A print intended as a reminder for Asian-American self care and rest
instead became another reminder that Asian women are constantly
fetishized, sexualized, and marginalized.

Emily Yang is an Asian-American artist and speculative designer exploring the question: “What is Asian-American Art?” What makes art “Asian,” “American,” or both? Who cares? And who decides?