This past spring, Eric Zhou and Jerrica Li launched The Wave, a new, student-run, pan-Asian literary and arts magazine, with the goal of bringing people together to celebrate art and identity. Their mission took on new urgency amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which first emerged in China, and the ensuing rise of anti-Asian racism and xenophobia here and elsewhere in the world.
The Wave’s inaugural print issue was released in February. Since leaving campus, Zhou ’20, Li ’21, and the nine other members of The Wave’s editorial board started a project that launched in May: a digital “Quaranzine” that aims to combat the mounting bigotry by showcasing young Asian voices in art, videos, and writing on an ongoing basis.
“Xenophobia is a phenomenon often far more deeply rooted and far more complex than a couple of incidents that we see on the news or social media,” said Zhou, who is from Ashland, Mass., and graduated with an A.B. in English. “The kind of real empathy that art demands of both creator and viewer naturally combats xenophobia, but it also gives voice to truth and to feeling. Even in times of scarcity and isolation … art continually reminds us that there is more to our own individual lives than the daily operations of business and survival.”
Li and Zhou found solace in their own writing and artmaking once they returned home, and they thought others might feel a similar drive to create. They also wanted to maintain and expand the community of artists that had come together for The Wave’s first print issue earlier in the semester.
The editors solicited submissions between May and July and have posted about one piece per week since the project began, pausing for the month of June to support Black Lives Matter by featuring Black artists. The group plans to publish the entire collection of Quaranzine pieces in a digital volume next month.