JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jessica Dimalanta, 19, was shot through her right eye this month in San Francisco. Her family believes she was targeted because she is Asian American.
Jacksonville artist Elena Øhlander is speaking out against the hate through her art to help Dimalanta and other Asians dealing with violence.
“Unfortunately, the level of harassment and violence against Asian Americans has been escalating,” said Øhlander, who is of Chinese and Norwegian descent. “And, unfortunately, it’s escalated to the point of a mass shooting.”
The coronavirus has led to harsh stereotypes and violence against Asians worldwide. Recently, the United States was awakened by a disturbing attack in which eight people, including six Asian Americans, were killed at Atlanta-area day spas.
For Øhlander, her artwork speaks against the hate.
“Behind that piece, I just want to mention that wherever this virus has started, supposedly in Wuhan, I think for Asian Americans and Asians around the world to not be considered a virus,” Øhlander said of her piece “Not a Virus.”
Art lovers admire Øhlander’s work for its precise detail and vivid colors.
“‘Not the Enemy’ is one of the early pieces in the series created last year -- kind of going along with the ‘Not a Virus’ rhetoric,” Øhlander explained.
Øhlander used her gift to create a piece in honor of Dimalanta. She will sell the piece and donate the money to Dimalanta’s medical bills.
According to stopaapihate.org, the group has received 3,795 reports of hate against Asian Americans from March 2020 to February 2021.
Øhlander hopes her work will inspire others to think before they stereotype.
To learn more about Øhlander’s artwork, visit elenaohlander.com.
If you would like to donate to the GoFundMe account set up to help Dimalanta, click here.