Baopu #85: Portrait Through Immigration

Yao shares this poem: "Time after time, I break down into a million pieces of identification, none of them vital in any way, I'm left with a shell... a promise — to grow back the garden I left behind." Around the poem are images of Yao, with short red hair, signing into a computer to fill out immigration paperwork in colors of jade, tan, purple, and peach. Beneath the collage is a garden left in the gentle grey clouds of dreams, a part of Yao's imagination.

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Yao Xiao is a China-born illustrator based in New York City. Yao Xiao creates artwork depicting a poetic visual world where complex concepts and human emotions are examined, amplified, and given physical form. Her work has helped people all over the globe connect at unique moments, from the celebration of the 20 Year Anniversary of the SXSW Interactive Festival, to the grand release of pop singer Katy Perry's single 'Dark Horse.' She has created deeply emotional and beautiful graphics for editorial print publications, pop music record covers, concert posters and book covers. Yao Xiao's serialized comic Baopu currently runs monthly on Autostraddle. It is an original comic exploring the nuances in searching for identities, connections and friendships through the fictional life of a young, queer emigrant. Baopu stands for 'holding simplicity,' a Taoist ideal of wishing to return to a simpler state. Find her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Etsy or her website.

Yao has written 94 articles for us.

2 Comments

  1. The artwork is beautiful and so message is so layered. Immigrants may all come from different universes of their own but they all come here knowing that they have to build something back up. My Mae came to New York from Brazil in 1980, and although it was hard for her to leave she got to finally find a life of her own without the verbal abuse of her mother. I may not know what it’s like to have to leave the place that gave you roots, but I’ve heard about it my whole life.
    I’m glad that immigrants exist. They help fuel the rest of our existence.

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