Ada Chen, a Chinese-American artist, confronts Asian stereotypes by creating jewelry.
Based on real cringe-worthy conversations, Chen crafted a set of dangle earrings in the shape of iMessage speech bubbles.
One side was made in memory of a fetish-filled encounter that the artist had with a Wall Street man.
“I’ve never been with an asian girl before
And how do you feel about that?
I don’t know im kinda excited🙃”
The other ear is based on a conversation that Chen had with a man she met at a party in New Jersey who claimed he once sold a T-shirt to rapper Soulja Boy.
“Are you Asian or Chinese?
I’m chinese but chinese is asian so
You just came from China?
No i was born insf
Chen’s earrings hilariously highlight uncomfortable moments of yellow fever and microaggressions.
She explained to NextShark about her decision to immortalize the conversations into earrings, “I could say that because we use our ears to listen, the conversations dangling from them just point to what I have to listen to as an Asian American woman.”
Chen’s Text Message Earrings are part of a larger statement jewelry collection, “Made in Chinese America.”
Creative, hilarious, and satirical, her collection displays pieces from “Speak English, We’re in America” grillz to a delicate headpiece that pulls your eyes back called the “‘Chink’ Eyepiece.” Many of her pieces are adorned with delicate details like that of fine jewelry but sound loud with meaning.
All of her works hold a story behind them. Her “‘Chink’ Eyepiece” is accompanied with the mocking description, “Ya eyes too big and ya lids got too many folds. Asian girls aren’t getting surgery for Western, double-lidded, round eyes anymore because Westerners are buying this piece to look more ‘exotic.’”
Her creative headpiece may ironically serve as an eye-opening call to the beauty standards that the media has created for Asian women and monolids.
“My self-investigation of my identity as a Chinese American woman has been the main inspiration of my ‘Made in Chinese America’ collection. Memes are also a significant inspiration for my collection because I started seeing a lot of memes and posts regarding social issues,” Chen told NextShark.
However, Chen also saw a lack of Asian representation in these memes and decided to pave her own content.
“A lot of what I saw did not address issues that I could personally relate to, so I wanted to create the content for myself and for other Asians in America (most of these Asians are probably East Asian because ‘Asian’ is a big word, but that’s another discussion). I just wanted to convey the message to Asian Americans that our experiences are valid and that we should feel comfortable to talk about them more.”
Although Chen doesn’t have a new collection in mind yet, she has made the Text Message Earrings available for purchase online due to the overwhelming demand and support from others who can relate.
See more of Chen’s artwork on her website.