in

How NH teachers inspired artist JooYoung Choi’s cosmic universe


Artist JooYoung Choi has created an expansive imaginary world through paintings, puppets, sculptures, and music videos. Each art piece follows the adventures of unique characters in this world Choi calls The Cosmic Womb.

Two of her pieces are currently on display at the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester. “Time for You and Joy to Get Acquainted” is a large sculpture of a Brontosaurus in a field of flowers. “Journey to the Cosmic Womb” highlights different characters from Choi’s universe in a colorful, detailed painting that looks like it could be from a vintage comic book.

Choi grew up in Concord, New Hampshire after she was adopted from South Korea. At a recent lecture at the Currier, Choi told stories about teachers who helped her grow as an artist. Like when her ninth grade English teacher, Diane Watson, stayed after school to help Choi process her feelings about adoption through poetry. Choi later named one of The Cosmic Womb characters after Watson.

“Mrs. Watson was an incredible teacher that just went out of her way to spend time with a young person who was trying to find her feelings,” said Choi. “If it wasn’t for all that they did for me, I wouldn’t have had the kind of creative thinking skills or believed in my wild ideas like to build a giant dinosaur.”

Choi says her early art explored her yearning to know who she was and where she came from. In college, she found her birth family in South Korea.

“There was this abundance of love that was filling this void that was part of my life growing up,” Choi said. “And I realized that I used my imagination over all those years to create this magical realm for myself that I think kind of protected me.”

NHPR’s Morning Edition host Rick Ganley spoke with Choi about how creating the Cosmic Womb universe inspired her to use different mediums to explore themes and characters in her art. Below is a transcript of their conversation.

Transcript:

JooYoung Choi: I grew up in the ’80s, and there [weren’t] a lot of Asian people in Concord, New Hampshire. So I did deal with a lot of racism from kindergarten on up. I was called pancake face or flat face, and it was definitely hard. But on the other side, for every difficult moment that I dealt with racism, I encountered incredible teachers and friends that changed my life for the better. I still stay in touch with my Latin teachers from high school. I stay in touch with Mrs. Watson, my English teacher, because if it wasn’t for all that they did for me, I wouldn’t have had the kind of creative thinking skills or believed in my wild ideas like to build a giant dinosaur if I hadn’t had all of their faith in me growing up.

Rick Ganley: Can you tell me more about The Cosmic Womb and how you developed this imaginary world?

JooYoung Choi: So I realized that [during] my undergrad, for the most part, I was in the process of searching for my birth family. A lot of my original art was very focused on understanding what it meant to be adopted. And during my undergrad, I was able to reunite with my birth family. And so by the time I got to grad school, I had found my birth mother, my birth father. I found out I had two brothers and a little sister and all these aunts and uncles and cousins.

So there was this abundance of love that was filling this void that was part of my life growing up. And so when I got into graduate school, I really didn’t know what to paint about anymore. And I realized that I used my imagination over all those years to kind of create this magical realm for myself that I think kind of protected me. And I was looking at some articles and interviews with Nancy Verrier about her book called “The Primal Wound,” and this idea that the adopted child has this wound that begins in the womb when the mother realizes that they’re going to separate from the child. And I thought, well, if we have a primal wound, then we should have a cosmic womb, some place that we can go where we can grow and be ourselves. And I think that I began creating that from the moment I found out that I was adopted.

Rick Ganley: The works that are currently on view at the Currier are called “Time for You and Joy to get Acquainted” and “Journey to the Cosmic Womb.” Can you describe the pieces? Who are the characters from the Cosmic Womb universe that people are going to meet when they go?

JooYoung Choi: So, “Time for You and Joy to get Acquainted,” features “Perennial Favorites,” which is a beautiful cosmic Brontosaurus. And on top of the Brontosaurus are two characters named Spacia and Amplexus. I had been reading some articles about a time where the paleontologists decided that the Brontosaurus wasn’t real, and this was around the same time that they were saying that Pluto wasn’t a real, official planet. And that started making me question the idea, where did things go when we no longer believe in them? And I thought I should make a place for them.

And so I made up this story about this Brontosaurus that had read in the papers that it was no longer being believed in. So it was going to make its own planet and it would start with a garden and let it grow, and the garden would be called the Garden of Courage and Love. And so you’ll see in the installation that there’s this beautiful garden surrounding the dinosaur. Probably 70% of the flowers that you see in that garden are made by other people. And I asked volunteers to make a flower that represents someone who gave them courage in love or taught them how to be brave and how to feel that they were enough just as they are. And it just continues to grow. And some day, this Brontosaurus hopes that there will be a large enough garden that she can build her own planet.





Source link

What do you think?

Written by Politixia

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

‘Soft Life As A Black Man’ Trend Polarizes Viewers On Social Media

This Peanut Til Barfi Recipe Is So Good That You Will Get Hooked