un-named han (white), winter 2021, 7ft x 4ft x 3ft
un-named han (black), winter 2022, 6ft x 3ft x 3ft
un-named han (red), spring 2022 8ft x 5ft x 3ft
Mulberry paper, sand, clay, iron oxide, decaying wood
un-named han is a series of sculptures that are my way of engaging abstractly with the legacies of world war and extreme poverty (from a Korean diaspora context) and how they are carried in the bodies of diasporas intergenerationally as repeated and unresolved patterns of trauma because they are suppressed for the sake of attaining material wealth and the American dream. I work through questions about what is lost in the process of assimilation and what from our ancestors must be revived and reimagined to remediate trauma and break patterns that leads to a crumbling society and enables the specter of a new cycle of world war and extreme poverty triggered by a changing climate, the declining west and the rising east.
There is a word in Korean, han (한), that is associated with my halmoni’s (grandmother’s) generation that went through war and extreme poverty. Han is deeply held, suppressed and unresolved pain. My halmoni never spoke about the past. She always thought her han wasn’t meant for us born in America. Her han was for her to take into death. But it was in her memory where the pearls of truth and wisdom lie that enables me to cultivate self-actualization, mediate trauma, recontextualize a larger diaspora story and imagine the future anew.