Faces of Asian America: Being a Queer Artivist | #APAHM2014

Celeste Chan by Paul Von Bex

Celeste Chan is a queer artivist who has been writing, making films, performing, curating, and collaborating in art-organizing projects for 10+ years.

How do you see yourself as a queer artivist?

In collaboration with my partner KB Boyce, I co-direct Queer Rebels, a queer and trans people of color arts project.

I see myself as part of a creative constellation in the Bay Area. We are making art as activism, as homage, as irreverence, to subvert, to queer, to challenge, as people who were told that our voices didn’t matter. We are non-mainstream.

As a queer artivist, I’m schooled by DIY and immigrant parents from Malaysia and the Bronx, NY. In my film and writing, I’m obsessed with hidden histories, queerness as lens, race and representation, experimental form and aesthetics. One of my newest collaborations is MOON RAY RA, a performative experiment with KB Boyce.

As an artivist, I find balance between focusing on my own work and building up a platform for queer/trans artists of color. With Queer Rebels, there’s urgency in our work. There are so many vital voices that need to be heard.

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Faces of Asian America: Being Immigrant, Queer and Artist | #APAHM2014

Trungles-self-portrait

 

Trung is a Vietnamese American immigrant queer artist born in a UN refugee camp in the Philippines, who moved to the United States at the age of 2, and who came out to his family at the age of 17.

How do you see yourself — as immigrant, artist, queer or more?

I find myself constantly trying to figure out how to move between spaces instead of settling in them. I am uncomfortable thinking about myself as a sum of parts – everyone knows you are all of yourself at once.  But I often get the sense that I’m always dealing with myself in pieces. The safe spaces availed to me tend to be made for parts of me.

My queer and Asian American identities are prominent parts of my life because they’re the facets of me that are the most often politicized and subject to respectability politics. They’re the ones that I’d always been encouraged to keep quiet about for the sake of politeness.

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