This is a piece I did for a community art project that’s a part of “We Are All Related”, an exhibit of Neshkinukat artists at Greenly Art Space in Long Beach. I wanted to showcase a bit of personal history with this project.
My family is originally from Seoul, South Korea. I overlayed some old family photos over a map of Seoul—through which the Han River flows. My parents were the first from our family to immigrate to the US, carving out a corner for themselves in California so others may follow. My older sister and I were born in Korea, but my younger sister and brother were born here. We are the first in our family to assimilate completely into American culture, for better or worse.
I was 3 and my sister was 5 when they left us in the care of our grandparents and flew to Los Angeles to get themselves established before sending for us. My sister and I didn’t see them for four years—an eternity to children. I didn’t even remember them, but my sister did, and missed them like I couldn’t. In the upper left part of this piece is a postcard I’d written to my parents when I was probably 5 or 6. I don’t remember writing it but my dad had saved it all these years.
My younger sister was born after my parents had come to the US so I already had a 3 year-old sister when I came here to rejoin our parents. My little brother was a surprise baby who came along several years later—the soon my parents had pretty much given up having.