Hawaii artist paints Patsy Mink mural in Portland

HONOLULU (KHON2) – Amid racial discrimination in America, there is always color, light and inspiration. In a new residential complex in southeast Portland, a mural featuring Hawaii pioneer Patsy Mink appeared to present the message of love and solidarity.

Hawaiian-born artist Anisa Asakawa was selected to create executive artwork that fostered a sense of belonging. Her decision landed on Patsy Mink, a champion for women’s equality.

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Patsy Mink was the first woman of color elected to the United States House of Representatives and the first Asian-American woman to sit in Congress.

“I am an Asian American woman,” Asakawa said. “I am the daughter of an immigrant. My mothers from Malaysia, and it was very important to spotlight someone I was in contact with, and Patsy Mink did so much for the community through her work and did so much for social justice that I wanted to highlight its history.

Growing up in the islands as a mixed-race woman, Asakawa said she felt accepted. However, when she moved to Malaysia at the age of 10, she said she began to experience discrimination.

“All of a sudden, I was extremely white or American compared to everyone,” Asakawa explained. “The school system was actually separated between students who spoke English and only English and students who spoke the mother tongue. And then a few years later, I moved to central Wisconsin where I was the most Asian.

Recently, the “Black Lives Matter” and “Stop Asian Hate” movements revealed the racism that continues to exist in America, as well as the need to make room for everyone.

For Asakawa, visual art serves as a means of breaking down these barriers of prejudice.

“For the Asian community, people of color, I hope they feel a sense of belonging, really, that they see someone who looks like them, looks like their mother, looks like their grandmother, looks like to their sister, to their aunt. “

Hawaii-born artist Anisa Asakawa

“What I really liked about the image of her looking off the page is that she is sort of looking into the future. She doesn’t look at you directly, she doesn’t look to the past, but she looks to the future, ”Asakawa added.

The project was part of the non-profit association Color Outside the Lines and is called: “Belonging”.

Asakawa’s Pasty Mink fresco stands alongside paintings by Cesar Chavez, Ron Kovic and Shirley Chisholm.

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To learn more about Anisa Asakawa and her work, Click here.


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