YEN-RONG WONG: Tearing apart the Asian woman stereotype, one word at a time

Yen-Rong is a writer, reader, musician, scientist, blogger, editor, tweeter and an aspiring academic.

Her interest in South-East Asian women’s writing and Asian Australian fiction lead to the creation of Pencilled In, an online platform that of Asian Australian artists, and is a Queensland Writers Centre Ambassador.

Yen-Rong’s work breaks free from the silence of her adolescence to dissect the stereotypes of Asian and Asian-Australian women, female sexuality.

OMID TOFIGHIAN: Being Australian...it all comes down to chance.

It’s difficult to describe Dr Omid Tofighian as a translator without feeling like you’re missing a big part of the picture. In 2018 stateless refugee and journalist Behrouz Boochani released No Friend but the Mountains: Writing From Manus Prison, a literary tour de force and first-hand account of five years in exile.

Tofighian’s role in this? To translate the now 416 page book chapter by chapter from WhatsApp text messages and PDF’s sent by Boochani and from a smuggled mobile phone. A task that called upon Tofighian’s areas of academic research, interest and own cultural background.

KARINA UTOMO: My voice, my weapon.

Known for her dynamic vocal ability Karina Utomo's roar is more than an expression of power and rage, as she fronts extreme metal band High Tension. Karina Utomo's voice is a weapon, used to fight against cultural and traditional repressing silence that looms over the dark history of Indonesia.

MARC FENNELL: Be what you can't see.

Fennell’s career in media kicked off at the age of 19 at SBS and has gone from strength to strength. In between working on television and radio, Fennell has produced podcasts, created extensive Year in Sound audio pieces, chaired live panel discussions, and written books. There was a point in time where busting out a whiteboard to create a visual timeline of achievements and projects to discuss with Fennell seemed logical.

RAFEIF ISMAIL: You can be your own hero

If you were to guess Rafeif Ismail’s age on life experience alone, you’d aim higher than you ought to. In the less-than quarter of a century Ismail has achieved big things.

A contributor to three anthologies, political experience under her belt, and in 2017 a national writing prize for her piece Almitra among the Ghosts. In feedback from the judging panel Ismail was credited with inventing a ‘new style of poetry-prose that incorporates her home culture with English in a startling way’ where ‘each word is there for a purpose’.

NEVO ZISIN: Community care is just as important as self-care

Nevo Zisin’s calm exterior could easily be mistaken for the type of confidence and peace we all hope to achieve, but Nevo is the first person to tell you that they are still figuring things out.

In high school, and with the encouragement of peers, Nevo began to take steps toward transitioning and now identifies as non-binary. This continuing journey has lead to the publication of Nevo’s gender memoir Finding Nevo, and has made them a point of contact in the Jewish community for other people confronting issues of gender and sexuality in their own lives.

NTOMBI MOYO: Unapologetically fly

You know a Ntombi Moyo image when you see one. If she is not in it herself, you can be sure to feast your eyes on a celebration of colour, style and swagger that not only celebrates the wearer but, the clothes themselves.

ZEADALA: Be you and be proud

A Thai and Arabic upbringing are just two ingredients of influence for south-west Sydney poet and musician Zeadala. A background in community work and her own experience of feeling on the outer are two more.

From this, Zeadala creates music and poetry that challenges normative narratives and encourages power in young people who find themselves on the outer as she did growing up.

SHANICE OSITA CHUKU: Just you wait

I first met Shanice Osita Chuku in a paddock on the outskirts of Launceston in Tasmania. It may sound strange, but it wasn’t - we were there for Party in the Paddock, a three day festival where Chuku had recently graced the stage supporting local act Sumner. When we eventually meet for our first proper conversation, I discover a vocalist with big aspirations and a passion for inclusive makeup.

STAV : The language of languages

Stav Shaul aka STAV is a contemporary folk artist and winner of the 2018 Folk Alliance Australia Young Artist of the Year.

Through her music, STAV shares her story of migration with bursts of rhythmic fire and soaring melodies. Exploring the vast tonal qualities of her voice and the themes of connection STAV. sings in both Hebrew and English languages, a talent that enables her to stand apart from other artists in Australia.

SHU-LING CHUA: Easy as ABC

Shu-Ling Chua is a leader by another name. As a Asian-Australian writer, who is proud to define herself as such, Chua is part of a cohort of POC writers carving out a path for generations to come.

Chua’s work has been appeared in FeminartsyPeril Magazine and Meanjin, amongst others. She writes about sex, culture, femininity and the awkward art of growing up.

KATE CEBERANO: Meals and melodies

Individually Kate Ceberano is a kick arse Australian musician of the highest degree with ARIA nominated, chart-topping albums and singles reaching platinum status time and time again. So it is no understatement to say that Ceberano’s voice rises above most and stands out loud and lovingly proud in the landscape of the Australian soundtrack.

RAINBOW CHAN: Diasporic pop sensibility

Our current social climate has changed dramatically in the last few years with indigenous and multinational artists using their work to insight cultural pride, representation and conversation.

Rainbow Chan is one such artist whose musical aesthetic embraces both the retro typography and pop-sensibility of Hong Kong while defining herself as a diasporic global citizen. Her narrative draws from her life experience and pushes against the conservative mainstream Australian media that continues to represent Australia as a white majority nation.