Graphic novelist’s new work revisits Depression-era Filipino life in California
Acclaimed graphic novelist Rina Ayuyang new work The Man in the McIntosh Suit” (Drawn and Quarterly, 2023) renders a Filipino American view of the Great Depression in which lost love meets the Prohibition, from strawberry farms on the Central Coast to Manilatown in San Francisco.
The San Francisco State University conceptual and information arts graduate told SFSU News’ Matt Itelson, “We always feel like we’ve come a long way, but there are still things that need to be addressed. We like to bury things in our history that aren’t as pretty.”
Ayuyang added: “I feel like as an artist, we need to continue to use our platform to share ideas, motivate and inspire.”
Kirkus Reviews writes: “Ayuyang spins a captivating tale that is both an homage to starry-eyed Hollywood movies of the period and a corrective that highlights the anti-Asian racism faced by immigrants as well as the thriving communities they formed.”
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Ayuyang, a native of Pittsburgh, said that through the ethnic studies courses she took at SF State, where she learned about the past struggles of Filipino farmworkers and activists in California, inspired her to dedicate a comic to the University in her new poster series, “Finding Filipino at SF State.”
The nine posters are on display at 30 bus shelters in downtown San Francisco through June, presented by the San Francisco Arts Commission for the Art on Market Street Poster Series,