Pencil Drawings and Acrylic Paintings with Mindfulness Themes; Mindfulness of Race

Seeing Things As They Are

I drew this in 2019. The drawing shows two living lions and the lion capital of Ashoka, a sandstone sculpture from ca. 250 BC, Sarnath, India. The lioness’ paw over the lion’s eyes symbolizes not seeing clearly (confusion or delusion). The lion capital could be any number of symbols, including those of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, or Native American art. The symbol (here the lion capital) signifies the truths of the nature of things as they are (e.g. impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and not-self).

Mindfulness of Race and Healing Racial Trauma

Asian person with meat torn off and a hawk on their shoulder, signifying hypersexualization, othering, and seeing Asians as a separate species.
art portraits of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd as well as nameless countless Black murdered people who were kept out of the news.

I humbly offer these comments on mindfulness of race and racial trauma with knowledge that I am not an expert in this field. This writing my view in brief, as an (South) Asian American.

The painting on the left signifies the hypersexualization, othering, and dispensability to which Asians and Asian-Americans are often subject. Asians and Asian Americans are almost seen at times as a separate species to be preyed upon. I painted the painting on the right in response to the George Floyd and Breonna Taylor murders in 2020. In addition to the murdered Black people in the news, there are countless others whose extinguishment are almost never known more widely. Black people are often othered as well.

In my view, one way way in which we can begin to heal racial trauma and have difficult conversations is to bring awareness to our interconnectedness and commonalities and to stop othering. We are not separate and our happiness and suffering are interdependent. Almost all of us humans just want to be happy.

A lot has been written about systemic racism and unconscious bias, so I will not elaborate a lot here. However, to me, a lot of the learned unconscious bias is due to seeing all people of a given race that may be different from our own as the same, a monolithic other. An arbitrary, culturally created concept of race does not mean that individual Black people are all the same, or that individual Asian people are all the same. Applying stereotypes of a race to individuals of that race (generalization) is part of what unconscious bias and racism is. If we stop othering and bring awareness to our interconnectedness, difficult conversations may become easier. Most of us just want to be happy, and we can be happier with deep listening and understanding and concrete action.

SNL skit “Eat My Butt”

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