The Chinatown Art Brigade (CAB) is a cultural collective that recognizes the power of art to advance social justice. As Asian American social justice minded artists, cultural workers and media makers we have roots in activism and movement-building work. We believe that art, culture and media work must serve and advance these social justice movements. Currently, Chinatown Art Brigade is a project-driven collective that is working in close collaboration with CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities’ Chinatown Tenants Union, a grassroots organization that works with (and organizes low-income) pan-Asian communities around tenant rights, fighting evictions and community empowerment.
Who we are:
Tomie Arai is a public artist who collaborates with writers, architects, historians, curators, and local communities to create work that explores the rich cultural diversity of the Americas. She has designed permanent public works of art for the NYC PerCent for Art Program, The San Francisco Arts Commission, the MTA Arts for Transit Program, the NYC Board of Education and the US General Services Administration Art in Architecture Program. Her latest public commission will be an architectural glass mural for the new Central Subway Station in San Francisco Chinatown, sponsored by the SF MTA.
ManSee Kong creates films and videos inspired by stories of liberation and justice from grassroots organizing campaigns and narratives grounded in social movements. Current directorial projects include a feature documentary about Pvt. Danny Chen, a 19 year-old who died after being racially and physically hazed by fellow soldiers during his deployment in Afghanistan, and “Chinatown Tenant Stories”, a video series about gentrification and displacement through the voices of low-income immigrant residents of Manhattan Chinatown.
Betty Yu is a multimedia artist, filmmaker, educator and activist raised in Sunset Park, Brooklyn to Chinese immigrant parents. Ms. Yu's documentary “Resilience” about her garment worker mother fighting sweatshop conditions, screened at film festivals including the Margaret Mead Film and Video Festival. Yu’s multi-media installation, “The Garment Worker” was featured at Tribeca Film Institute’s Interactive. She co-created "Monument to Anti-Displacement Organizing" that was in the Agitprop! show at Brooklyn Museum. Betty was a 2012 Artist-in-Resident and received the 2016 SOAPBOX Artist Award from Laundromat Project. Betty won the 2017 Aronson Journalism for Social Justice Documentary Award for her film, "Three Tours". Ms. Yu holds a BFA from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and a MFA in Integrated Media Arts from Hunter College. In addition Betty Yu sits on the boards of Third World Newsreel and Working Films.
Emily Chow Bluck is an artist, educator, and organizer based in New York City. Working primarily with communities of color in urban neighborhoods, she uses her art praxis to build local campaigns for social justice and equitable futures.
Huiying B. Chan is a second-generation Toisanese writer, educator, organizer, and dandelion from Brooklyn. Huiying believes in fierce softness, healing and love. Huiying is currently traveling to and writing about Chinatowns around the world on a traveling fellowship and continuing the search for home in the diaspora.
KahEan Chang was born in Malaysia, and moved to NY when she was 16. She started to get involved with CAAAV when she was in high school as a youth member working with Chinatown low income tenants until now.
Hailing from Argentina, Ting Jun is a graduate student at the New School for Social Research. They are currently working on a 'biophilohistography of revolutionary trauma and the souls of Chinese folk,' a project that seeks to map out how the repressed his and herstories of our diasporic families are inhibiting our collective future: the premise is that inner psycho-emotional healing precedes the outward development of a political movement. Previously, Ting Jun worked as an organizer with SENS-UAW and CAAAV, and in a past life, was also a documentary photographer.
Linda Luu studied Sociology and Asian American Studies at Hunter College. She is passionate about mental health in immigrant and refugee communities. She organizes as the President of the Coalition for the Revitalization of Asian American Studies at Hunter and founded Youth Radical Reading, Arts, and Discussion- a social justice education program for high school youth.
Mei Lum is the fifth generation owner of her family’s 92-year-old porcelain ware business, Wing on Wo & Co. (W.O.W). In early 2016, her family’s building and business was on the brink of sale. In an effort to resist against contributing to the process of gentrification in NYC’s Chinatown, Mei decided to take on the role of running W.O.W to continue her family’s five-generation-long legacy in the neighborhood and help protect the heart of Chinatown from encroaching gentrifying forces. Mei is currently working on growing W.O.W's community initative, The W.O.W Project, which is working to reclaim ownership over Chinatown's future by reviving, protecting and encouraging Chinatown's creative culture through arts, culture and activism.
Liz Moy is an artist and activist from Chinatown, New York. She holds a BFA in Studio Art from NYU Steinhardt and is passionate about the intersection of gentrification and cultural production.
Anna Ozbek is a filmmaker, multimedia journalist, educator, projectionist, and activist based in New York City. She is currently working on a project that explores the relationship between cultural memory and revolutionary activism through the lives of a group of Marxist student organizers in late 1970s Turkey. Her video work has appeared on CNN, Global Post, National Geographic, and Democracy Now!. She holds a BA from the University of Washington and is currently completing her MFA at Hunter College.
Lena Sze is a writer and cultural worker from Manhattan's Chinatown.
Si Wang is originally from Sichuan, China. Si love's dancing, drawing, and creating things. Si is a graduate student of Dance/Movement Therapy. Si loves the Chinatown of New York because in there Si met some of the most strong, artistic, simple, caring, and loving people they know today!
Diane Wong is a independent ethnographer and doctoral candidate at Cornell University, where she writes on race, gender and the gentrification of Chinatowns. As a scholar activist and educator, her research stems from a place of revolutionary praxis and love for community. As a first generation Chinese American woman born and raised in Flushing, Queens, her research is intimately tied to Chinese diaspora and the urban immigrant experience. Her current research documents intergenerational resistance to gentrification in New York City, San Francisco, and Boston Chinatown. Diane also works closely with groups like CAAAV, 18 Million Rising, and the W.O.W. Project.
Daphne Xu graduated from Brown University in 2014 where she studied Anthropology. She is currently based in Beijing, China working at Digua Community, an organization redesigning empty air defence basements across Beijing into community spaces. She was a Seeding Change Fellow at CAAAV in 2016 where she organized Chinese NYCHA tenants for CAAAV's Language Access Campaign.
Mimi Yaw is from Malaysia and moved to NYC in 2013. Mimi became involved with the Chinatown Tenants Union of CAAAV in 2014, when their building received notices from the landlord who was trying to evict tenants and renovate the building. Ever since that experience, Mimi has become a tenant leader of Chinatown Tenants Union and continues to attend weekly tenant organizing meetings at CAAAV. Mimi can be found taking photos, playing golf, or snooker.