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I Am Not A Virus / Lesta Woo



 

Lesta Woo

My name is Lesta Woo and I’m an architect and artist. I also have a background in engineering, and parametrics. I love to draw, and it is my profession as well as my way of expressing myself. This piece is a drawing, a self-portrait. It depicts me, an east asian female, with the words ‘I am not a virus’ painted on my face.


I am a british born chinese person, living in the UK, and I am also visually impaired. The issues around the intersectionality of my heritage, gender, and impairment are complex in general, and my life has been affected in many ways because of me simply existing. And now faced with the pandemic as a ‘vulnerable’ person, it has added more layers of worry and discrimination. Seeing the rise of covid based asian hate, and the random acts of physical violence the east asian diaspora in the UK and elsewhere are experiencing is truely scary. To be seen as an object of fetishisation, at the same time as an object of hatred is hard to comprehend, and I dream sometimes of just being seen as human. I am not a virus.

In September 2021 I was so relieved for my son to go back to school for face-to-face lessons. He didn’t work so well during lockdown. He refused to participate in the online lessons – he said they wer