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  • Joanne Tong


Updated: Aug 2, 2020

APAHW 2007

APAHW 2007. Pen and ink. Originally published in the Daily Pennsylvanian supplement for Asian Pacific American Heritage Week (September 2007).

When the organizers of Asian Pacific American Heritage Week (APAHW) asked me to do a cartoon for their supplement in the Daily Pennsylvanian, I jumped at the chance.

Apart from having been on the planning committee in previous years, I’d always been fascinated by the exploration of culture, identity, and immigration (including self-segregation vs. assimilation). The integration of people of Asian Pacific descent into American society made for a really interesting study, especially since America itself is a land of immigrants and a melting pot* of cultural influences.

As the world becomes more and more border-less, though, the themes captured here are also becoming more universal. I hope discussions about these issues are going on in parallel in other societies as well…

(* This “melting pot” also been referred to as more of a “mosaic” in many parts of the country — with different races and ethnic groups being represented, but not necessarily intermingling.)

This is a scan of the original drawing prior to publication. More about my stint at the DP here.



APAHW 2007 Alternate

APAHW 2007 Alternate. Graphite pencil. Unpublished.

This is the first drawing that I did when conceptualizing a cartoon for the supplement. I was trying to represent (maybe too literally) the “identity crisis” that many immigrants face, but realized that the broken mirror might be taken to mean a fragmented community, as opposed to one dealing with their shared experiences together.

I incorporated the shattered mirror concept into the drawing that I eventually submitted, but put the people at the forefront as opposed to emphasizing the distorted reflections. Apart from showcasing more unity in the community, I think the drawing that eventually ran is much easier to process visually than this version.

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