The Start of Navigating Invalidation

“The Start of Navigating Invalidation” is an anthology zine I wrote and illustrated where I share personal experiences of when my validity as someone brown has been/ continues to be questioned. The zine discusses self-directed bigotry, difficulties connecting to one’s own culture, multifaceted identities, shame, the necessity to unlearn preconceptions of authenticity, and figuring out how to accept yourself. This zine incorporates my sense of humor in the form of a character “lil manu”. My stylized interpretation of myself who will at times talk directly to the reader, make jokes, or be downright ridiculous. Humor and art are large parts of my coping mechanisms for dealing with trauma, and I have never written about my relationship with my brown identity before so it was really important for me to include that character throughout the zine.


An important part of this project is the illustrated letter. In this section, I write directly to first generation immigrants and share my input on asserting our identities and holding bystanders accountable for their ignorance. Our heritage is nothing to apologize for. This portion of the zine is a 12 spread accordion book in full color. I plan to print copies of this zine and distribute them myself. This project serves as an issue zero to the zine series I am in the process of creating which will continue to document my experience with my “brownness” and learning to love my entirety rather than repressing any part of my identity for the approval of people who made me feel lost in the first place.

Finalist: Mahnoor Sheikh
Advisor: Prof Anthony Accardo