Prabal Gurung, a New York-based Nepalese fashion designer, ignited backlash for photoshopping an AAPI-Indigenous solidarity mural in Chinatown for his new Resort 2022 collection.
The controversy: Gurung showcased the new dresses in his collection last week, Vogue reported.
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- Two of the pictures from the collections drew flak online, prompting ethnographer Diane Wong to call out the brand for removing the mural on a red brick wall in Chinatown’s Mosco street, according to Refinery29.
As if it wasn’t bad enough fashion designers use Chinatown as a backdrop and people as photoshoot props, designers like @prabalgurung are now erasing our bilingual land acknowledgements that pay respect to the Lenape people and their enduring relationship with lenapehoking pic.twitter.com/olnEoegEgk
— Diane Wong (@XpertDemon) June 23, 2021
- The mural is a way to pay respect to the Lenape people, which the Smithsonian Magazine described as the true native New Yorkers.
- Non-binary Asian artist Jess X. Snow created the mural, “In the Future Our Asian Community is Safe,” as a depiction of a future “where we transcend white supremacy and anti-Asian violence,” W.O.W Project told Refinery29.
- The group described the removal of the Indigenous land acknowledgment as “harmful,” adding, “Indigenous land cannot be erased and Chinatown is not a backdrop for capital gain. It is unfortunate that this act of erasure has distracted us from the intention of this mural. We simply want to recenter the conversation back to this intention: creating a healing space for our community.”
Addressing the issue: Gurung apologized for his actions last Friday and asked Refinery29 to publish the statement in full.
Featured Image via TIME