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Schema: Art Gallery urged to cancel yellowface fundraiser

WAGA fundraiser by the Winnipeg Art Gallery which encourages partygoers to “embrace their inner ninja” and “throw on a kimono and everything Japanese” is being called “hurtful” and a perpetuation of yellowface that has surfaced in the media in recent months, reports Schema.

The Big in Japan Art & Soul Gala has reminded some of Katy Perry’s geisha performance at the American Music Awards, the slap episode on How I Met Your Mother and the opening sketch with Melissa McCarthy on Saturday Night Live.

“The circulation of stereotypes such as these often results in the marginalization of Asian/Canadians,” wrote Jenny Wills, an assistant professor at the University of Winnipeg. “These de-contextualized images also perpetuate dangerous stereotypes that see Asian/Canadian women as submissive and obedient “geishas,” a fetishistic  representational tradition that can be directly linked to the persistence of sexual violence against Asian women in North America.”

No doubt, as with the other protests of yellowface, some will see this as an overreaction to what they consider to be a tribute to Japanese culture. The fundraiser, they will say, is just a costume party and nothing more.

Which side of the debate do you take? Read Wills blog in Schema and leave your thoughts in the comments section below.




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