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Culture Clash

2019, oil on canvas and mirror, 71 x 24 x 24”.

As an American-born Korean, I’ve always thought about my cultural identity — I don’t have one home or a place that I belong. I often tell people I am Korean-American, but my identity is much more complicated than that: my two cultures cannot be condensed by the short hyphen connecting those words. I used oil paint to create two life-sized, self-portraits, one depicting myself wearing the Han-bok, an article of Korean traditional clothing, and the other showing me wearing Levi’s shirt and jeans, or a modern American style. The mirror set behind the pieces in the installation adds depth and perspective to this visual statement about the dilemma of my dual cultural identity.

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