Anida Yoeu Ali is a first generation Muslim Khmer artist/activist from Chicago whose work confronts the violence faced by API people in the United States, linking the experiences of diverse groups together in coalition building.
Her short film 1700% Project: Mistaken for Muslim, a collaboration with filmmaker Masahiro Sugano, connects the oppression faced by Japanese Americans in World War II with the 1700% increase in hate crimes directed at those seen as “Arab” or “Muslim” post 9/11. The multimedia project features striking performance sequences interspersed with poetry and headlines from reports of the incidents. The film makes a powerful statement about the nature of hate crimes and ignorance in racial profiling, decrying violent and racially exclusionary nationalism.
Another collaboration with Sugano, My Asian Americana, was submitted in the White House AAPI “What’s Your Story” contest. The video opens with several Asian Americans gathered in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, recounting with fondness their memories of growing up in America. The video takes a tragic turn when the speakers confess they are in fact exiled Americans, victims of a racist immigration policy unable to return. Despite winning the most votes, the project’s representatives were not invited to the White House to present the film, a disappointing yet unsurprising fact given the current administration’s policy towards deportation.
With any luck, Anida Yoeu Ali will be in Claremont to discuss her work on April 11th.