AAWAA: Visibility, Pan-Asian Identity and the Limits of Community

  • Laura Fantone
Part of the Critical Studies in Gender, Sexuality, and Culture book series (CSGSC)


This chapter describes how Asian American art in San Francisco evolved in the 1990s, connecting the then prominent discourse of multiculturalism with the attention given to “minority” artists and their identity (especially those who do not fit clearly in the predominant conceptions of Asianness in California).

The chapter also develops an analysis of the Asian American Women’s Artists Association (AAWAA) founded in San Francisco in the 1980s. By interviewing two core members, Nancy Hom and Cynthia Tom, the author examines how the association promoted solidarity and strength among artists by using the term Asian American, reviving its connection to 1970s politics of creative assertion in terms of community visibility. Asian American artists whose works is labeled as “ethnic and feminist” have become part of multicultural spaces, ending up representing a community, while struggling with ghettoization and limited identity labels.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura Fantone
    • 1
  1. 1.Gender and Women’s StudiesUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

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