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Tag Archives: Chinese

Racist, Anti-Immigrant Art from the Turn of the 20th Century

In this cartoon, an Irishman and a Chinese man are devouring Uncle Sam. Ultimately, the Chinese man consumes them both and steals the Irishman’s hat.

There was a time in America when the Irish were characterized as apes, Italians as street filth, and Chinese as parasitic locusts. Today, these groups are key tiles in the American mosaic, but their arrival was initially met with fear and opposition. Newspapers and magazine cartoons from the turn of the 20th century illustrate these sentiments.

Many of these images were originally published in humor magazines such as Puck and The Wasp. Though modern-day viewers might see them as racist propaganda, perhaps in their time they functioned more as political satire. Think of Stephen Colbert and his hyperbolic, politically incorrect Chinese caricature, Ching Chong Ding Dong. One hundred years from now, people watching Colbert Report archives might misinterpret the comedy as something more sinister.

But it is safe to say there was a more sinister attitude toward immigrants in the country at the turn of the 20th century. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 made it government policy to restrict an ethnic group’s ability to enter the country. In 1896, an Atlantic author called immigrants”a hopeless burden” that would dilute the industriousness of the nation. In 1917, the Immigration Act barred a whole range of individuals – including the illiterate, the “feeble minded,” and homosexuals – from entering the country. Many of the images in this gallery echo these fears and portray immigrants, particularly the Chinese and the Irish, as parasites devouring what Americans hold dear.

 Regardless of these measures and sentiments, the immigrants saw the America as an ark of refuge, as the last image in this gallery shows. And although these images are hundred years old, a lot of the conversation on immigration remains the same. Today, immigrants – mostly from Latin America – have a similar dream to those who sought refuge in the 1900s. And many Americans have similar fears about what role, if any, these American hopefuls should play.
The article by Brian Resnick (with many examples of images) in The Atlantic.

101 Diasporas: Artists of Chinese Descent in Britain

101 Diasporas is the title of a project, incorporating an imminent publication and an online gallery and database, which has been undertaken by Sajid Rizvi with financial assistance from Arts Council England. The project is conceived

, designed, authored and curated by Sajid Rizvi, Publisher and Founding Editor of Eastern Art Report and Eastern Art Report Online.

101 Diasporas explores, examines and highlights the work of several generations of the artists of Chinese descent who are or have been resident in the United Kingdom. The project supplements the pioneering work already undertaken by EAR in the field.

Not only has each artist an almost unique story to tell of his/her artistic career–as no doubt can be expected–but also that each has a singular sense of belonging or not belonging, or what it means to be in diaspora.

Most remarkably, artists who have been born and brought up in Britain also feel that they are in a state of diaspora. Why? The purpose of the project is to bring together their stories, to publish them and to bring to global attention the work of these practitioners of art.

Are you a 101 Diasporas artist?

If you are a practicing artist based in Britain or have spent significant amounts of time in Britain and would like your work to be included in the project, please send an e-mail to Sajid Rizvi, or write to him at:
For more information write to:
Eastern Art Report Online
EAPGROUP International Media
P O Box 13666
London SW14 8WF
United Kingdom

Chinese Diaspora by Pok Chi Lau

“>Black and white photo of two Chinese prostitutes in Hong Kong

Prostitutes in Shen Zhen, a border city north of Hong Kong. Images © 2003 Pok Chi Lau. All rights reserved.

Pok Chi Lau has focused on the contemporary cultural and social transformations brought about by human migration. Through photography, writing and video he seeks to illuminate the impact of global migration upon the private lives and social environments of the Chinese people, both in the Chinese homeland and their adopted environs. To understand the Chinese Diaspora is to acknowledge the significance of human patterns of global migration as they shape individual experiences and emerging cultures.



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