(home)land: migrants in our heritage Book / Publication / Landmark Writing


Name(home)land: migrants in our heritage
Writer(s)Liz Yu AKA 'arrow'
Type of TextZine


(home)land: migrants in our heritage is a multimedia narrative zine by Tāmaki Makaurau-based illustrator, Liz Yu, who is known in the online arts space as ‘arrow’. By interweaving writing, painting, photography and illustration, (home)land: migrants in our heritage explores the concept of belonging, and is particularly inspired by Yu’s recent trip to North Cyprus:

[the zine] encapsulates a lot of the feelings I had last year when I went back to the place I grew up in…even though I grew up there, I was always an outsider. I wasn’t just the only East Asian, but also the only POC person around really.

Using photographs and notes taken during the trip, (home)land: migrants in our heritage has a distinctly intimate feel. The writing is diaristic, often pondering existential questions aloud: “how can this be home? I belong to this land, but it does not belong to me”. Photographs are predominantly of liminal spaces and empty chairs are a recurring visual motif in the work. Figures are noticeably missing in the photos, only present as distorted faces in water or illustrated overlays. Yu often uses line-art illustrations of people to fill in the empty landscapes of photographs — cartoon figures walk through ancient ruins or sit in cafes. In this way, space and time converge and Yu explores the tension between her memories growing up in North Cyprus and her experience revisiting the place. The visual narrative also draws attention to concepts of presence and absence, emphasizing Yu’s experiences in North Cyprus as an East Asian individual.

Referring to her use of personal ephemera in the zine, Yu comments on her zinemaking process as one of curation: “It’s just going through things that I already have and seeing how I can curate them…It's looking at my own work from an outsider's point of view and trying to see how can I put this into a collection”. Selecting particular memories and anecdotes is also important for Yu’s work — in a personal conversation, she mentions that “there are a couple anecdotes of when I was out with my dad [in North Cyprus] that would have shaped a lot of the resentment I felt that propelled this zine and the writing in it”. Despite these anecdotes not appearing in the final version of (home)land: migrants in our heritage, these experiences clearly frame the zine’s narrative.

Yu describes the process of making (home)land: migrants in our heritage as “really special”, referring to her zinemaking practice as a way of reflecting upon emotions and thoughts. The decision to use the medium of zinemaking for this narrative is rooted in Yu’s belief that zines can build connections and communicate feelings: “this act of me sharing my story, and you sharing yours…and we don't ever really have to interact. But to me, that's very special, that we can have these feelings announced to each other”.

(home)land: migrants in our heritage won the Best Narrative Zine at the 2023 Auckland Zinefest. Publisher and judge Damien Levi described the zine as “a visually stunning and narratively engaging zine that dives into the theme of homecoming”.


Key awards

2023 — Auckland Zinefest Best of the Fest: Best Narrative Zine

Last updated: 29 February 2024 Suggest an Edit


A photograph of a boats on the water at sunset with white line art figures holding hands and illustrations of fruit drawn on top.

Liz 'arrow' Yu, (home)land: migrants in our heritage PDF, 2023

[pdf ↓]