Hybridity highlights the collectivity of Asian Canadian diasporic experience and local Asian Canadian artists

The short documentary film combats the loneliness of having one foot in two worlds by reminding us we have each other

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Fashion designer Alex S. Yu working at his workspace on his sewing machine
Hybridity celebrates local Asian Canadian artists in their various disciplines. Photo Courtesy of Kevin Kim / Hybridity.

By: Yelin Gemma Lee, Arts & Culture Editor

Hybridity begins with an introduction by multiple voices from featured artists overlapping each other — the hybridity of united voices. It’s almost as though they finish each other’s sentences but their voices overlap enough to be noticeably disruptive. I felt immediately pulled into the creative direction of the film by this compelling introduction. It encompassed the solidarity between these local artists and the Asian Canadian community through filmography.

What began as a passion project between like-minded SFU film students sparked into a beautiful short documentary that captivates you under its spell. Being under four minutes, Hybridity leaves you wanting more. The film showcases masterful creative direction and cinematography.

The Peak interviewed Kevin Kim, director of Hybridity, to learn more about his thoughts behind the project. He noted the ideas around it began to take form in early April, where they were in reflective anticipation of Asian Heritage Month.

“I was born in Korea but I moved to Canada at a young age, and so oftentimes I feel like I’m in a limbo between both worlds,” said Kim. “However, I knew that there were so many more people like me, immigrants who can’t place themselves in either world. We either don’t think about it or feel at a loss when we do.”

Kim explained the project originated as an idea to reach out to people around him to ask for their diasporic perspectives, but then it settled to taking the opportunity to celebrate local AAPI artists who were also first or second generation immigrants.

“I wanted to showcase impactful, local artists in their spaces to show other multicultural artists that there is a vibrant community of Asian Canadian artists here in Vancouver,” said Kim. “There are a lot of expectations set in the industry on who we are and what we create. It’s important that together we are breaking said norms collectively, creating a supportive and safe environment where we can express ourselves freely without judgement and maintaining the pride of being both the Eastern and Western worlds.”

Being an Asian Canadian artist and an immigrant myself, Hybridity created an anthem of some of my innermost feelings and formative memories. Although I felt relatability and solidarity through everything that was expressed by these artists, my favorite line was when Jace Junggyu Kim said, “I was good at drawing and I didn’t have to really speak. My art was sort of a language to communicate with other people.”

The way the dialogue between five different artists was so seamlessly integrated together was very impactful. The flow of their lines drifted from person to the next as though they were speaking as one voice, nurturing a collective narrative that bloomed and spilled over. The film switched between clear footage and footage that looked like it was old-film, which seemed to represent the shifting nature of diaspora over time. The footage of the artists working their respective disciplines in their spaces was peaceful and inspiring to watch.

“It’s important that we give space for Asian Canadians to share their work so that we can share our stories without fearing judgement or prejudice, and not let our stories be twisted by the perspective of others,” said Kim. “Our goal with the film is for the audience to understand that they are not alone [ . . . ] they can feel supported and proud of who they are as multicultural artists. We also hope to show those who aren’t in the said demographic what it is like to be a culturally hybrid artist and to raise the voices of our community to the public.”