EXOTIC GOODS is a photography exhibition and performance art presentation on the fetishization and commodification of Asian women. It was on display from Wednesday, November 14 till Sunday, November 25 with a ticketed reception on Saturday, November 17 at Shopkeepers in Washington, DC.


How does one appreciate the exotic without fetishizing it? EXOTIC GOODS examines the tenuous relationship between objectification and admiration through familiar representations of what’s beautiful: the female form, and the natural beauty of flowers. EXOTIC GOODS explores the fetishization and commodification of Asian women. “You look so exotic. Where are you from?” are common words Asian women are approached with. This exhibition examines the objectification inherent in the term “exotic” and challenges accepted definitions of beauty, diversity, and acceptance.


Featuring a collection of images, mixed media art, and film, EXOTIC GOODS not only documents the often-blurred lines between compliment and condescension but also challenges the filters through with beauty is recognized and commodified. The exhibition illustrates different scenarios where Asian women feel observed, neglected, or hyper focused on by not only men but the general public. They are intimate, professional, relatable, and metaphorical.


Jamie Garcia first approached Michelle Samson about creating an art exhibition inspired by their shared everyday experiences navigating through average activities as an Asian woman, and the common looks, comments, and situations that accompany them. Bruce Allen was brought on board in mid-August. A collaboration between two Asian women and a man of mixed heritage provides perspectives from different angles. Over the past several months, they have worked together to construct striking and surreal images that bring attention to the observer, who may become active participants in the scenarios created by the artists.


Venue: Seda Nak and Samandar Khelghati, Shopkeepers
Video: Jeff Prioleau
Makeup: Rachel Lane Makeup Artistry
Food: Maketto
Cocktails: Jo-Jo Valenzuela
Models: Paola Dumadag, Kristina Seewald, Enkhjin Tsagaandash, Margaret Wang, and Shell
Event Photography: Erin Yasmeen
Event Music: Les Talusan
Event Assistance: Thu Nguyen, Celina Ces, Aaron Yu, all our volunteers
Our friends, family, and local art community for their support