Disabled people of colour, queer people of colour, poor people of colour, migrant people of colour, and undocumented people of colour felt the full brunt of structural racism during the pandemic. A lack of adequate and inclusive services left many in homelessness, poverty and distress. It was a time when scarcity put everyone on edge and gaps within government support programs were made clear.
But communities of colour are resilient, creative, and tenacious. People of colour came together to practice mutual aid, for each other. These efforts built solidarity, created safety nets, and fostered love across communities. It showed that another world is possible - a world built on grassroots over bureaucracy, abundance over scarcity, love over shame.
My piece features words from some of the mutual aid groups that inspired me during the pandemic. These were the Anti-Colonial Asian Alliance of Kulin Nations, the Disability Justice Network, and Undocumented Migrants Solidarity. I selected these quotes for their representation of the politics behind mutual aid that distinguishes it from charity, as well as the radical love at its core that challenges capitalistic self-preservation.
This artwork depicts hope and abundance as a testament to the work of mutual aid. However, the context of this work is not a happy one. It is the abandonment and cruelty of the colonial state against which communities of colour continually struggle. This piece is indeed a celebration of people of colour, but it is also one tinged with inevitable grief.
"Against the self-preservation we saw during the pandemic, solidarity is the site of hope for those underserviced and marginalised by racist capitalism. My artwork celebrates the practice of mutual aid as part of the anti-racist struggle against abandonment and violence.
I feel grateful to be creating work alongside other young people of colour in this program, asserting our lived realities alongside one another."
Presented as part of MAV’s Ahead of the Curve program.
Supported by The Victorian Department of Families, Fairness and Housing.