Artist turns Asian stereotypes into jewelry
Speak English. Slanted eyes. Good at Math. Designer Ada Chen turned these Asian stereotypes into fashion bling.
Asian Stereotypes Portrayed in Jewelry
”Speak English, we’re in America”
Aden Chen, a Chinese-American artist who graduated Pratt Institute with a BFA in Jewelry, has faced discrimination her entire life. Born and raised in San Francisco, it did not occur to her how many microaggressions she faced until she attended college in New York City and noticed how she did not fit in with the Chinese students but instead with American people of color. So she turned her experiences as a Chinese American woman into art.
“My art comes from a place of moving out of self-hatred and accepting who I am. I think it's important to appreciate the differences that you have from the standard, and the standard is not really that standard, because your experiences are just as valid. I think talking about it and encouraging Asian Americans to be loud and bold is like it's going to start, maybe even like a revolution, where we can be whatever we want,” Aden Chen explains to Brut.
”Made in Chinese America”
With almost five million Chinese Americans living in the United States as reported by the U.S. Census, Chen’s jewelry collection Made in Chinese America depicts the stereotypes most Chinese American women face. Her first piece, a chain that connects to both ears that reads “Speak English, we’re in America.” That statement happens to be a quote from herself to one of her friends when she was fourteen. One of her most popular pieces is a set of text message earrings in which she depicts two conversations she had with white men where they either fetishized or insulted her race. Another piece is a necklace made to look like the Cheetos logo but with Chinese slurs on them. She sells every item on her website priced from $40 to $400.