A new series of posters from San Francisco artist, Deborah Enrile Lao celebrates Asian American masculinity. The series, titled “Manhood,” consists of screen printed posters of five iconic Asian American men—Richard Aoki, George Takei, Jeremy Lin, Bruce Lee and DJ Qbert.
A statement from the artist describes her work:
This piece challenges the unkind, one dimensional portrait of Asian American men in mainstream Western media. By exuding strength, creativity, leadership and masculinity, these five icons buck characterizations of Asian American men as meek nerds who never get the girl (or guy). Bold paper colors and a minimal illustration style reclaims the one dimensional space into one that portrays these men as “superheroes” that young boys and men can aspire to be like.
At first glance I was a little surprised by George Takei‘s inclusion in this list, but after considering the topic, I came to agree. He truly is an inspiration, especially to gay Asian men like myself. The poster of George Takei uses a representation of him based on his character Sulu in Star Trek.
Asian American masculinity is tough topic, and one I wrote about last year. I applaud Lao for taking on this challenge and producing these amazing results. I love the look of the these new posters, and hope they will help to inspire a new generation of Asian American men.