01 10 / 2014

Not Your… seriesNovember 201211”x17” Inkjet Prints

Not Your… series
November 2012
11”x17” Inkjet Prints

01 10 / 2014

Coming Out of the Shadows
Daley Plaza
March 10, 2013

Coming Out of the Shadows

Daley Plaza

March 10, 2013

26 4 / 2014

Part two of Asian American Disney: Princes
Donnie Chang, Rachelle Johnson, and Kim Navoa
11” x 17” Inkjet Prints

Check out what our princes had to say about growing up Asian American, representation, and masculinity:

“Being a man to me means stepping up into being a good older brother. I try to help my mom out as much as possible when my father isn’t home. I try to ease the stress of my parents. Being a man also means fulfilling my own dreams.”

“The aspects of Asian American males in media that I find most troubling are the high expectations and being good at certain things and upholding family honor. That model minority myth where you’re just that ideal citizen. At the same time, it’s really difficult having to live up to those expectations and setting that example for my siblings. It was difficult to balance everything with society and the heavy expectations that my family set for me. I had trouble doing the right thing as far as my family goes. If it wasn’t necessarily accepted by society, I prioritized more of what my family wanted me to be.”

“I recently watched a video about how the 3 worst words you could tell your son is to “be a man”. What it means to me and how I’ve seen it portrayed is being aggressive or being able to stop showing emotions - being able to get over it and do what you have to do. There’s an aggressive connotation behind it that I don’t agree with. It desensitizes the difference between genders. I identify more with being an adult or being mature and responsible. You need to be able to think for yourself and make the right decisions. Expressing positive traits without letting negative traits bog you down.”

“I feel that it’s problematic and troubling when every character is the same. I think of the character that Dr. Ken Jeong plays. He’s the exact same person in every movie or television show he’s in, but that’s really the intricacy of his acting ability and the kind of person he wants to portray, however mainstream media and a lot of Hollywood is unable to comprehend that and they take and reproduce his character into an Asian American stereotype so we see a lot of crazy, little, sexless Asian American males doing really crazy stuff as part of the “Hangover” scene, and I just simply disagree with that. “

“I am a gay Asian American male and I’m proud to be part of the LGBTQ community. But my biggest problem is that they always view gay Asian American males as “bottoms”, in other terms they define us as feminine and demure and receptive. It should be stopped because really does scare a lot of people away from being open about their sexuality because they’re going to encounter “you can’t be masculine because you’re Asian.””

Check out Part 1 of the series, Asian American Disney Princesses, here!


This project was funded by an Asian American Studies Expo Grant to support undergraduate research. It is part of the UIC AANAPISI Initiative supporting the recruitment, retention, and graduation of Asian American, Pacific Islander, and English language learner students at the University of Illinois at Chicago and is fully funded by the U.S. Department of Education¹s Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions Program.

09 2 / 2014

Chicago Ideas Week 2013

Hip Hop: Movement Behind the Music

31 8 / 2013

A couple of shots from my summer in Los Angeles! Hopefully my future home for at least a couple of years. :)

16 5 / 2013


Recently, the National Korean American Service and Education Consortium (NAKASEC) hosted a photo contest called “We Are America, America is Home” which is meant to put the spotlight on family in conversations regarding immigration reform. NAKASEC ended up with a beautiful album with both photos and stories about how essential family is in the immigrant community.

My submission is titled Disneyland, 1994 (click here to be sent to my photo and here to be redirected to the story). My story about family focuses primarily on some of the amazing women in my life who have helped raise me and shape me into who I am.

It would mean the world to me if you could click on the above link title, find my title and name in the scroll bar, and vote for me!

If you don’t want to vote for me, that’s okay too because there’s a bunch of other really inspiring entries to choose from instead.

Spread the link around and encourage people to not only vote, but to really read these incredible stories about family.

Voting ends May 20!

14 4 / 2013

12 4 / 2013

10 4 / 2013

by Kim (annakimskywalker) & Donnie (donniekompany)
11x17 inkjet prints

Most of us grew up watching Disney classics featuring the beautiful Disney princesses we all know and love. Disney was and continues to be a staple in the lives of many children. However, despite how much we admired these princesses, it was difficult relating to them because they didn’t physically represent us. Take a look at any Disney princess product and you will see the preference towards the White princesses, white washing of princesses of color (skin color, facial features, etc), and the shoving of these princesses to the side.

In the 76 years since Snow White was released, there have been 12 (soon to be 13) Disney princesses, only 5 of whom are women of color (Jasmine in 1992, Pocahontas in 1995, Mulan in 1998, Kida in 2001, and Tiana in 2009). It took 55 years to portray a woman of color as a princess, and these portrayals also came with problematic and inaccurate representations of their respective cultures & histories (not to mention Tiana was a frog more than half of the movie).

How are young APIA children supposed to believe in “happy endings” when we don’t see them happening to people who look like us?

All of the above was the inspiration behind this photoshoot. We believe physically showing some of our favorite princesses as Asian American women will allow us to build more of a connection with the princesses who weren’t women of color, but who still possess qualities we admire and/or see in ourselves.

**These are just 5 of the 15 we recently showed at our university’s Asian American Studies Expo.

Andrea as Sleeping Beauty
Henna as Belle
Cat as Cinderella
Young as Snow White
Jenny as Tinkerbell

Photography/lighting: Kim
Hair/makeup/wardrobe: Donnie
Editing: Kim & Rachelle

08 12 / 2011