opium dreams

visual artist: emily yee clare
writer, performer: ryan kai cheng thom

Excerpted from a book in-progress, “Opium Dreams” is an interdisciplinary, multimedia exploration of Chinese diaspora, poverty, gender/racial fluidity, and queer desire. Emily Yun Ching Clare combines stencils of contemporary Chinese North Americans with hand-drawn motifs drawn from classic Chinese folklore, highlighting the contrast between the difficult realities of migration and the mythic power of the imagined homeland. Clare’s portraits infuse the monolithic, mainstream narrative of Chinese diaspora with shades of individuality, re-imagining the migrant geographies of past and present, spirit and body. Ryan Kai Cheng Thom’s spoken word performances blend drag, comedy, and slam poetry, lending a unique narrative voice to the idiosyncrasies of growing up as a queer person of colour. His work seeks to embody the dynamics of celebration, survival, and intimate violence in the queer community.

View the full piece (pdf)