Migration is an inseparable and intrinsic part of the histories of so many people of colour, whether we live in majority white populations or not. As borders and the geographical spaces in which we root our bodies become more and more subject to debate, legislation, and restriction, the topic is as important as ever.
That’s why this weekend, daikon*, a zine that features the writing and art of South-East and East Asian women and non-binary people in Europe, launched their newest issue on the theme.
The launch, which spanned Friday and Saturday, was a celebration of creativity and had a firm practical and political element; for example a session led by Haringey Anti-Raids and SOAS Detainee Support, which provided guidance on what to do if you witness an immigration raid, information on immigration detention, and also work being done to resist it.
Another important theme of the issue was assimilation. Hanna Stephens, one of daikon*’s editors, asked gal-dem: “what happens to us or our relatives when we migrate to a new country; are we integrated into society in ways that acknowledge and hold space for difference or are we made to assimilate – and through this assimilation how do we uphold power dynamics by being discriminatory ourselves?” Questions like this are threaded through the issue, and it seems that the conversation is definitely open.
“Big brands and companies who are starting to realise that diversity is ‘cool’ and sells”
Like gal-dem, daikon* is concerned with how women and non-binary people of colour may be commodified. “Creativity arises from resisting assimilation and shaping our own spaces,” Hanna said, “[but] increasingly there are attempts to co-opt these by big brands and companies who are starting to realise that diversity is ‘cool’ and sells.” The issue was unpacked at the final panel discussion that rounded off Saturday’s event.
Inside the zine, alongside poetry, articles, photography and illustration, the editors also included an overview to UK border control. The visual element of the edition is striking; original illustrations and watercolours for days mean the magazine is both a feast for the eyes and crucial food for thought.
Without a doubt, daikon* are proving as relevant, radical, and real as ever.