"In the Asian community, queers are outsiders."
"In the queer community, Asians are outsiders."

AACT Open Call for Discourse on Asian Queerness:

THE BITTEN PEACH:
DECOLONIZING QUEER ASIANS

Intrigued by the parallel existence of the peach in both Western and Eastern queer cultures, AACT is curating its inaugural online exhibition - The Bitten Peach: Decolonizing Queerness.

We are interested in the intersectionality of Asian and queer identities, and the lived experiences of these community members. The current queer cultural canon is predominantly held together by the Western gaze. Confronting the marginalization of Asian communities in contemporary queer culture, AACT invites all artists to share their experiences, existing research, and observations through artworks of various mediums. We want to impose these critical questions: is current queer theory also a colonized project of Eurocentrisim? How does queer activism take place in different forms in different communities? How do we decolonize queerness?

We welcome diverse critical positions. Collectively, we aim to present an exhibition that celebrates broader definitions of queerness from different world views. We bite the peach together.

To apply, please complete the google form via the “apply now” button below. We encourage the submission of existing work that align with the theme. We are also interested in your reflection, elaboration, reproduction, or advancement of your existing work with your current point of view.

The deadline to submit applications is 3rd February, 2023. Works are selected based on artistic merit, connection to the theme, and contribution to the discourse of Asian queerness. Applicants will be notified of the result by 24th February, 2023. The online exhibition will go live in May, 2023.

If you have any questions, please email us at aact.canada@gmail.com or message us on instagram at aact.community

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Contextual Info:


Often charged with sexual connotations, the peach has become one of the forbidden fruits in contemporary queer culture. It culminated in director Luca Guadagnino’s film Call Me By Your Name, a sensuous, romantic drama set in Italy in 1983. When the protagonist Elio follows his desire and masturbates into a pitless peach from his family orchard, he later finds his love interest Oliver worshipping the used peach, bringing the two men’s complicated emotions to a climax.

There is also a story in ancient Chinese literature, Han Feizi, centred on the peach - 餘桃啗君 (feeding emperor with the bitten peach). In the Zhou dynasty (771–256 BC), Mizi Xia was famous for his impeccable beauty and was the favourite same-sex courtesan of the state-ruler, Duke Ling of Wei. One day, when they wandered through the garden together, Xia picked a peach and took a small bite. As soon as he realized how particularly sweet the peach was, he handed the remainder of the bitten peach to the Duke. The behaviour could have been seen as a significant disrespect to the royal Duke. However, Duke Ling of Wei took the bitten peach and instead praised Xia’s sincere love. The symbol of the bitten peach (餘桃) is still a coded phrase for romantic relationships between men in China.

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