This Artist Creates Surreal Illustrations That Draw Attention To Race And Gender Stereotypes

Published 4 years ago

Sometimes there’s no better way to get your message across than through art – just ask Texas-based artist Dena Nguyen. To draw attention to important race and gender issues, the young woman created a series of colorful and surreal illustrations titled This Is America.

It all started with a portrait of an Asian woman with the caption “We are not a virus”. This was an allusion to the racially-motivated attacks against Asian people, claiming that they are to blame for the coronavirus outbreak, that have become increasingly common in the US in the past months.

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Artist Dena Nguyen created a series of surreal illustrations that highlight to important race and gender issues

Image credits: denanguyencom

Dena condemned the actions of people who attacked others simply for their race and said that it breaks her heart to see this happen. After she published her first piece, people started messaging her and asking to create a similar type of illustration featuring an African American saying that they’re not a threat. The artist agreed and this marked the beginning of the series.

After Dena’s initial illustration, people messaged her asking for more

Image credits: denanguyencom

Soon enough the artist turned her illustrations into a series titled This Is America

Image credits: denanguyencom

Dena then asked her followers for more suggestions and received these requests:

a portrait of a Latino woman with the caption “My race is not illegal”, drawing attention to the problem of Latino people being labeled as illegal immigrants, despite living in the country legally;

an Arab woman with the caption “We are not terrorists” to battle a racist stereotype that spread after the 9/11 attacks;

a Native American with the caption “We are not savages”, a derogatory term that was coined by the European settlers that first came to North America;

a portrait of a woman covered in silhouettes of arms with the caption “Women are not objects”, that raises awareness to sexual harassment and trafficking issues.

Dena’s followers loved her illustrations and just couldn’t get enough of them

Image credits: denanguyencom

The artist ended up creating six surreal portraits and the number keeps growing

Image credits: denanguyencom

Dena’s surreal portraits became viral after Twitter user Andrea Raudales them on the platform where they were shared 614k times and got over 1.5 million likes in just a few days. The artist couldn’t believe her works have gone so viral and wrote an adorable thank-you tweet for all those that appreciated her work

Dena’s portraits went viral after someone shared them on Twitter where they got over 1.5 M likes

Image credits: denanguyencom

Image credits: denanguyencom

The artist even shared some behind-the-scenes videos of how she creates her illustrations

Video credits: denanguyencom

Video credits: denanguyencom

Video credits: denanguyencom

Aušrys Uptas

One day, this guy just kind of figured - "I spend most of my time on the internet anyway, why not turn it into a profession?" - and he did! Now he not only gets to browse the latest cat videos and fresh memes every day but also shares them with people all over the world, making sure they stay up to date with everything that's trending on the web. Some things that always pique his interest are old technologies, literature and all sorts of odd vintage goodness. So if you find something that's too bizarre not to share, make sure to hit him up!

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