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Hills and Water

473" x 45", 75" x 50, 78" x 55"
Various size upon installation
Silk, old ramie, hand sewn

Exhibition at the Mills College Art Museum
performance (September 16, 2017) and art making workshop at the museum (September 23, 2017)


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"There is an old saying in Korea: "unfamiliar mountains and water." This saying describes the feelings of foreignness in an unfamiliar place--not the place of my birth--which is Korea. I initially thought this feeling was due to the constant worries of living in a foreign country and learning a new language with new people and culture. I thought that the old saying is symbolic of all the changes of living circumstances. Now that I have been in this place (San Francisco Bay Area)---different than from the place of my birth--- I think that phrase strikes me as exactly right. 

When I first arrived here, and driving along the highway, it was the yellowed hills surrounding the city that caught my attention. To my eyes, from a distance, as a person from another country where it rained in the summer and with green mountains, the golden hills in the midsummer made me think of buff and barren hills. Strange......that's exactly what I felt.  

Even after seeing hills turn green in the short rainy winter, when I realized that they were green and grassy hills and not exposed barren hills, I still find the landscape unfamiliar. Although I am still adopting to the new place, golden hills--rolling hills--always catch my eyes whether at a quick glance or over the horizon. The water at the end of the Pacific Ocean reaches the land where I was born, but I remain feeling the unfamiliar and alien. I would have never known all the new shapes and colors knew from birth--like sponge in water-- was familiar to me. I realize that these feelings are possible only because I moved to a new place leaving all that was familiar, which enabled me to create my work."

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