Los Paisanos del puerto: POrtraits of the Chinese diaspora community in puntarenas, Costa Rica
Paisano means “countryman”, a term of endearment used between the Chinese community to refer to one another, while El Puerto refers to the port town of puntarenas. Los paisanos presents narratives of the descendants of Chinese immigrants (1855-1955) in Puntarenas, Costa Rica using oral interviews and photographs. Through my lens and in their own words, they assert their stories - largely forgotten and erased from national and global history despite their 160-year presence.
As diasporic citizens, the paisanos are simultaneously other-ed by anti-Chinese legislation in Costa Rica while seen as inauthentically Chinese. Normalized discrimination and harassment is a common theme that interweaves these stories.
This project highlights the intersections of Chinese and Latinx identity while seeking to question and redefine our definitions of both. While it is by no means comprehensive, it offers a glimpse what it means to navigate this complex identity.