Have You Eaten Yet?, 2021
Chalk on chalkboard painted wall
96” x 69”
“Have You Eaten Yet?” explores the ways in which the Asian American and Pacific Islander community show up for each other time and time again. This mural asks you to think about the acts of compassion we are raised with through our relationships with food. How many times have you walked into someone’s home and was immediately offered a plate of food? It’s a moment in our lives that we remember all too well. Rooms filled with laughter, karaoke, and trips back to the kitchen.
With the increase of violence against the AAPI community, I felt called to create something larger than myself in the comfort of my own work studio. My safe space. And what I learned during the 2 days hand drawing this mural was deeper than I’d expected. I realized that I am naturally drawn to working with chalk because it requires you to work in steps. First, short and light strokes, creating an outline of the path you choose to draw. Then, going back with the same short but stronger strokes to really make a mark. These movements come naturally to me and perhaps to you as well. They mimic the act of coining someone, a traditional Southeast Asian technique that heals your body by opening up your skin and letting the “bad wind” out. My mother was adamant about coining me instead of giving me Western medicine starting from a young age and she in turn taught me how to coin her. This is how I learned to take care of the people I love the most. From the people I love the most.
This mural is a combination of ancestry, cultural heritage, and the ways in which our communities choose to find healing. It is through art, food, and familial relationships that I’ve survived thus far and I refuse to let it stop with me. So I urge you to ask yourself and the ones you love today: “Have you eaten yet?”