Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders featured in ‘Call Me By My Name’ photo exhibit

Jul 12, 2022, 7:24 AM | Updated: 7:36 am

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah photographer has unveiled an exhibit highlighting the names of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders through a collage of portraits.

Janessa Ilada recently unveiled the “Call Me By My Name” exhibit at Zion’s Bank in Salt Lake City.

Ilada said each portrait bears a name that holds deep meaning and significance.

“I had an experience where someone mispronounced my name, and it was just something my friend and I vented about.”

That conversation stuck with Ilada — a Filipina American who grew up in Utah — and led to her latest photo exhibit, which features Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Utahn celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with photoshoot project

“A lot of great things that I learned was who were they named by, and what those names meant to them and their family,” said Ilada.

Kelly Asao was featured in the exhibit.

“One really common thing that Asian Americans experience is kind of the erasure of our names,” said Asao, who is Japanese American.

She said her grandparents were forced to live in internment camps.

“They specifically chose not to give my parents Japanese names and they specifically chose not to teach them Japanese.”

Asao proudly carries her family name generations later and said it’s important to her that people take the time to get it right.

“We all have rich, cultural histories. They’re all different and we deserve the respect of people just trying by making the effort to know our names and pronounce (them) correctly.”

Over 100 people are featured in this project. You can check out the exhibit here.


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A post shared by Janessa I (@jness.wanders)

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Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders featured in ‘Call Me By My Name’ photo exhibit