San Diego’s VAYA has been serving the Vietnamese community here in San Diego for quite some time. They host an annual Tet festival and try to keep the event free for the public to enjoy. These fundraising dinners help with that. Our founder and president, Dennis Doan was asked to auction off the original “Model Minority” art print, otherwise known as “Hate is a Virus”.
Here are his words regarding the piece.
“Creating “Model Minority” ©️2020 was somewhat unintentional. As my tattoo business was shut down at the peak of the pandemic, I found myself sitting at home with nothing to do- feeling useless for the first time in my life. I came across the organization “Hate Is A Virus” who was trying to shine a lense on the blooming hate against our Asian-Americans. This inspired me to sit down and let my mind paint my thoughts.
After 20 or so hours, my vision came to life. It was just a piece of art that I wanted to post to help spread the word. But unbeknownst to me- it would shake up the world.
It wasn’t until my wife and good friend, owner of ShareTea pretty much forced me to turn this piece into t-shirts that people could wear that I gave in. This unintentional route ended up becoming the diamond that saved my business from shutting down due to inactivity during the 7 months we were forced to shut down.
This piece allowed me to reach not only tattoo enthusiasts, but every day people that wouldn’t have discovered me otherwise. All over the news and social media, rallies and educational institutions. It feels surreal until this very day.
This paradigm shift allowed me to turn my presence of merely a tattoo artist into a presence that represents action. It allowed me to start The Doan Foundatin to help marginalized youth, especially in minority communities like my own.
It was only right that I would auction this original piece off at the Annual Gala Fundraiser for the San Diego Tet festival. This event helps keep the festival free for attendees to enjoy and learn about our culture each and every year.
As I get older and my perceptions have shifted, I see clearer the importance of not only preserving our culture but ESCALATING awareness of it. Our youth is losing touch with their roots, but we have the power to change that.
Thank you Tri, owner of NotPolish for your generous bid and congratulations on winning this piece that was originally my own hung up on my own wall. Thank you for your selfless contribution to our people and for recognizing the impact that VAYA has for their futures. I can now retire this piece.
We were able to help VAYA raise almost $10,000 from auctioning this piece.