Anti-Chinese and Asian racism in Australia is not new. But the advent of the global pandemic has seen an intensification of physical and verbal attacks. This has directly impacted on artists, as reported in Diversity Arts Australia’s 2020 Creatives of Colour Impacts of COVID Survey. Further evidence of this COVID-fuelled racism is the Asian Australian Alliance’s COVID-19 Coronavirus Racism Incident Report Survey, which Diversity Arts was also a partner on, and which documented over 500 reports of incidents, including verbal threats, physical intimidation, denial of services, workplace discrimination and being coughed and spat upon.
In response to this, Diversity Arts developed I Am Not A Virus, an artist-led initiative to confront xenophobia and racism through creativity. Making art and sharing stories are powerful ways to engage people in these discussions and provide counter-narratives. Sixty eight Asian-identifying creatives from all States and Territories in Australia have been commissioned to create new works in development, across a range of practice areas including visual arts, writing, poetry, performance, screen, audio-visual, music, comedy, and more.
The ten written works featured in this edition are by Eunice Andrada, Priyanka Bromhead, Matcho Cassidy, Tina Huang, Kelly Huynh, Eric Jiang, Christine Lai, Jacqueline Mohr, Huyen Hac Helen Tran and Tien Tran.
Content warning: Some of these works contain words and graphic references on racial and/or gender violence that may upset readers.
You can also dive into the full works in development by visiting the I Am Not A Virus project website.
Executive Producer: Lena Nahlous
Producer: Kevin Bathman
Social Media & Marketing: Glaiza Perez
Selection committee: Imogen Yang, Joon Kwok, Hoa Pham, Mikala Tai and Suna Roberts.
This project was made on Indigenous lands. We acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians of the lands on which we work and pay our respects to Indigenous Elders past and present. Sovereignty has never been ceded. This always was and always will be Aboriginal land.