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Mia Nakano (Oakland) collaborating with Hyphen Magazine (San Francisco) and Chinese for Affirmative Action (fiscal sponsor)

Award: $40,000 Visual Arts grant awarded in 2013

Launched: June 2014; culminating exhibit in June 2017 at Intersection for the Arts

Photographer, videographer, and educator Mia Nakano is collaborating with Hyphen Magazine to create “The Visibility Project,” featuring images, stories, and histories of Queer Asian American Women and Transgender Communities.

Hyphen is a nonprofit news and culture magazine that tells stories of Asian America. Conceived in 2002 by Bay Area journalists, Hyphen showcases people outside of the boundaries of Asian American stereotypes. This project recognizes that while lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Asian Pacific Islanders (APIs) have been active in multiple communities and capacities, the queer part of their identity frequently goes unmentioned or unrecognized.

Nakano will create a new LGBTQ online section at that will feature regular LGBTQ API contributors. She also will take two mini-tours of the South and Midwest, creating a community snapshot of their LGBTQ API communities. As she travels, she will work closely with Hyphen’s editors to produce and publish videos, post photos, blog, and create multilingual translations of interviews to post on Hyphen’s Website.

In the project’s culmination, Nakano and Hyphen will publish a book of portraits and a photo exhibition that will be launched at a community event. Nakano also will work with API Equality Northern California to develop a curriculum using the book and Hyphen’s Website as assignment resources.

Mia Nakano’s work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, the Leeway Foundation, and the Oakland Asian Cultural Center.  She has contributed to such media outlets as Colorlines, the Kathmandu Post, and Democracy Now!