Laura Kina and Seiji Igei
The Japanese text in the background says “Nuchi du takara” which is a proverb in Okinawan/Uchinaaguchi which means “Life is precious.” It is said to have been the final words from the last king of Ryukyu/Loochoo before he was taken by the Satsuma shogunate, reminding the people of Okinawa that all life is important and deserves to be protected. Over the last few years, it has been a phrase used in the movement to protest the military base at Henoko and, more broadly, the US military occupation in Okinawa as a whole.
Laura Kina (she/her) is a multiracial-yonsei-Uchinanchu artist and Vincent de Paul professor at The Art School, DePaul University. In 2021, she collaborated with her former student Seiji Igei (they/he/xe), who is a yonsei-Uchinanchu artist residing on Chumash/Tataviam Land, to create a poster that calls for resistance through linked oppressions—anti-Asian violence, US military occupation of Okinawa, and anti-Black racism. The central image is a portrait of Seiji painted by Laura and the graphic elements and text are by Seiji.