The Artists On a Mission to De-Stigmatize Weed in Asian Cultures
Marijuana has a history of being taboo in Korean culture, but there's a growing underground weed scene and one Seoul-based streetwear brand called Sundae School is out to spark a "stoner revolution."
Using fashion as a platform to express the modern Korean experience, siblings Dae and Cindy Lim founded the "smokewear" brand to "bring awareness to the stark invisibility of Asian-American culture—especially yellow counterculture—and to create a strong community of honor rollers." Launched on 4/20 last year, Sundae School celebrated its anniversary last night with a pop-up art show in New York titled "Higher Education: GPA 4.20."
The event showcased six Asian-American artists using their mediums to challenge underrepresentation—the same concept that Sundae School was built on. Featuring never-before-seen work from artists like Emma Sulkowicz, Bubble_T, and Yenata, "Higher Education: GPA 4.20" was a celebration of breaking the bamboo ceiling. Take a look below:
Emma Sulkowicz showcased their recent installation "Baby Blue." "It’s about a specific aspect of the Asian American experience: the pressure to 'stand out' from your Asian 'doormat' background and 'transcend' your culture to fit into a white American stereotype. It’s about the pressure to attempt the potentially hubris, impossible thing," Sulkowicz told Broadly.
"This photo series titled ‘Metamorphosis’ explores the efforts of modern-day Korean youths to fight the oppression and the constrictions on self-expressions that stem from traditional Korean conventions," Yenata told Broadly.
"Being Asian-American is like bong, spiff joy. You know you sort of have to process what you want, you have why you like, you have to process what works for you. So maybe one day day i’ll go for the bong rip, I’ll go for the part of me I’m not as comfortable with, which is the Asian side of me," Chloe Snower said.
Artist Alula Sumendap says she uses her work to escape her conservative Indonesian upbringing and focuses on anime, which is snubbed as childish in her hometown of Jakarta.
"New York has enabled me to get out of that mindset and be like fuck it, I really like anime. And I’m getting over my childhood trauma by being a nurse," she told Broadly. "My mom says its not creative because it’s just shitty Japanese cartoons."
Bubble_T put on a series of dance parties that celebrate queer Asian identity.
The event included a full "greenbar" featuring sativa-infused ice cream sundaes.
Co-founder Dae Lim created Sundae School after seeing smokewear's potential to amplify voices in the Asian community.
Co-founder Cindy Lim, a senior at University of Pennsylvania, manages the business development of the brand while Dae does the design.