|She and Ocean
Responding experience of living in vintage traditional Korean Hanok in Ecole de Ami Residency. “Homeland
Earth Mother, She and Ocean, Ripples, Female Gaze, Peal Ocean and Peal Woman” was born in the Studio
of Ami Art Museum, located in the rice farmland Dangjin Korea.
Sleeping in Anbang room where woman of the house slept with children in the past century, cooking in a red
earth floored kitchen, I found myself winding blue thread on the structure of the wooden Hanok door frame,
rubbing splashing, staining with Dangjin red earth on Korean paper. The burnt marks and wrinkles are part
of the mark making devices with stitching, mending and appliqued fabrics.
In and out of the Anbang room day after day, holding the rusted doorknob on worn wooden frame, as if
feeling the warmth of women’s hand who had lived in this room in the past, I thought of them. They could
have been our grandmother and mother’s generation of women. With whom I shared life under less
privileged circumstances in Korea. Remembering their hard work of domestic responsibilities, joy of bearing
child, raising children, nurturing and caring family, hand sewing family garments and linen, mending all
family worn outfit, hand washing laundry outdoors and drying on clothesline, making food from scratch
without freezer or oven, no matter how the weather holds. Remembering childhood of my curious mind
making holes with wet finger on rice paper on the wooden structure of the door and being scolded by them.
Also I was recalled with the time when my art career was on hold while I became a full-time mother raising
children in the suburbs of Kansas USA and felt like being trapped and isolated by only looking out through the
window to see the art world.
I washed accumulated dirt from salvaged room doors of vintage rundown Hanok in Dangjin. Brushed with
soap and water dry them clean. Ocean was made by winding thread around the door structures, for them to
in vision the open space of the ocean, a freedom space to travel to other places for a vocation. Using the
materials that are familiar to the vintage women for “She and Ocean” means of communication with their
familiar language, as they were illiterate women.
October 17, 2015