The W.O.W. Project - 2022

Ba Bao Zhou

From January-July 2022, Joy Mao returned to The W.O.W. Project as Artist-in-Residence for a second year.

During this time, she worked with her artistic partner, Lorraine Lum, alongside an intergenerational cohort of community artists, designers, activists, educators, and friends—to develop Ba Bao Zhou: a capsule collection celebrating the everyday abundance of Chinatown.

“How can clothing-making be a vessel for community care?”

八宝粥 Ba Bao Zhou, or “Eight Treasures Porridge” is a traditional Chinese sweet stew made from a variety of herbal treasures, such as lotus seeds, mung beans, and red peanuts. It is a beloved symbol of cultural abundance and community nourishment.

Summer 2022's inaugural edition of Ba Bao Zhou featured five simple, wearable styles, and a library of motifs representing the community's symbols of abundance—hand-carved by community members and hand-printed on ivory linen.

“What would it look like to redesign the design process itself—to prioritize collaboration and learning?”

Built around a series of educational workshops, the process invited participants to be active collaborators in the development of the collection.

Together, participants cultivated art-making skills, nurtured intergenerational bonds, and encouraged each other to consider how creative actions can be guided by historical context, personal experience, introspection, and community engagement.

The completed collection was photographed by June Kim, and styled by Sueann Leung on three groups of women with roots in Chinatown’s history of garment labor.

Right: Former garment factory worker and International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) organizer, Alice Ip, wearing Ba Bao Zhou with her union pins. Photographed in 2022 in Columbus Park, where she spoke during the historic 1982 Garment Workers' Strike—40 years prior.