“Amanyi” (translates directly to “power” from Luganda) by Ree, from Submerged 2021.

Judy Kuo

Unionist, Activist, Digital Artist

Judy Kuo is an Asian-Australian unionist, activist, and artist making art, zines, and posters. She currently works at Victorian Trades Hall Council and is passionate about building anti-racist working-class solidarity. She has recently created works for CLIMARTE, Conservation Council ACT and Diversity Arts Australia.

Judy Kuo. Photo courtesy the artist.


Mutual aid is love by Judy Kuo

Judy Kuo

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 practise 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.