ASIA showcases storytellers in annual gala

by Monika Davis / Beacon Correspondent • April 19, 2017

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Xia Rondeau's art installation piece got its inspiration from her personal life. Rondeau was adopted.
Courtesy of Xia Rondeau
Xia Rondeau's art installation piece got its inspiration from her personal life. Rondeau was adopted.
Courtesy of Xia Rondeau

Xia Rondeau makes art about the one thing that affects her most: her adoption. She projected a video piece at The Storytellers Gala, the third event in Asian Students for Intercultural Awareness' (ASIA) series observing Asian Heritage Month.

The walls screamed: "YOU LEFT EARLY” and "IT WASN'T YOUR FAULT."

The gala highlighted works of art, prose, poetry, and photography created by Asian students at Emerson. About 15 students attended the event, which took place Thursday, April 13 in Piano Row’s Cultural Center.

Rondeau, a senior interdisciplinary major, said art is an expression of the things that are hardest to communicate.

“For me, my art is not only an expression of my deepest, darkest feelings, but also of taking up space,” Rondeau said. “If I have the opportunity to project this stuff and make it really big and make people look at it and engage with it, I’m going to do that.”

The piece itself was an assignment for her Living Art in Real Space class where she was tasked to create something based off of the work by pioneering video artist Nam June Paik and Dadaist Hugo Ball.

Some of the other artwork on display included poetry, short stories, a painting, and a wall of pictures compiled by Lily Rugo, a junior journalism major and former Beacon correspondent. The photos featured her and her friends. Below was a small paper plaque that read, “For the past two-and-a-half years at Emerson College, ASIA has been the center of my world. Welcome to my world.”

Mona Moriya, a senior performing arts major and the organization’s president, said that she hopes ASIA’s Asian Heritage Month events will expand in the coming years because they provide a space for Asian students’ work.

“There is this need for a platform or venue for Asian-American and Pacific Islander identifying students to showcase their work,” Moriya said.

ASIA avoids triggering or extremely controversial work for their film festival held annually in April to celebrate Asian Heritage Month, but has not had to deny anyone’s work from entering from the gala. This year they received seven submissions.

“I’m always surprised by the different kinds of submissions we get,” Moriya said. “We’ve never had to turn away content and that probably has to do with the fact that there aren’t that many Asian students here anyway.”

Besides needing a space to showcase Asian students’ art, Moriya said that the “Storyteller’s Gala” is important because it defies the stereotype of the “typical” Asian experience.

“We can’t represent all the [countries in Asia] in one night, but we can try to show how varying the experiences are,” Moriya said. “There’s not one Asian-American experience and I would hope that through art this can be communicated through this event.”

Andrew Baicker, a freshman visual and media arts major, said he thinks that this event provides a unique way to stay close to your roots after moving away from home.

“When you go to school and you’re a part of the minority, I think that keeping in touch with diversity in general and culture is a huge deal,” Baicker said. “When you go to college it’s often lost because you don’t have your parents or community to help you feel connected.”