Hometown Hero (Chink)

multimedia installation; single channel video, soft sculpture, hand upholstered recliner, 2015-2017

installation view of Hometown Hero (Chink) at SPRING/BREAK Art Show 2017

installation view of Hometown Hero (Chink) at SPRING/BREAK Art Show 2017

installation component, Hometown Hero (Chink): Main Street, Lexington, Virginia, 36" x 60upholstery fabric and polyester batting, 2016

Since the 1970’s, the immigrant population of the American South has surged. As the region’s identity evolves and becomes more global and diverse with each generation we must re-examine the lingering presence of Confederate symbols that proclaim heritage. These images not only remind us of the region’s troubled past, but they also perpetuate the romanticized myth of the Lost Cause; they cling to an alternate reality, frozen in time. Being raised in a small town known for its prominent role in Civil War history, I —  a mixed-race Korean American — was taught to revere a past to which I felt no connection. 

 

installation component, Hometown Hero (Chink): General Lee
15" x 11"
upholstery fabric and polyester batting, 2016

The work reveals hidden personal histories, allowing others to peer into a space that many like me occupy: a state of psychological exile, of in-between, of longing yet not belonging. By challenging the notions of heritage, Southern nationalism and “traditional” American culture, I hope to facilitate honest conversations regarding race, alienation, and assimilation.

installation component, Hometown Hero (Chink): Lazy Boy
48" H x 42" W x Variable Depth
upholstered recliner, 2016

Hometown Hero (Chink) is an installation consisting of three parts: a single channel video, a custom upholstered recliner, and a fabric-covered room furnished with other upholstered items. The video playing on the television monitor, Twinkies, Wasps, and Avatars, attempts to deconstruct and reconcile the identities of “Asian American” and “Southerner.” Meanwhile the large recliner, with its looming imagery of the Confederate flag, dominates the space. It sits facing the television, acting as a physical stand-in for the [cheap] desire to return to an idealized fictional version of America - the wish to “Make America Great Again.”

installation component, Hometown Hero (Chink): Born & Bred Beer
5 1/2" H x 3" Diameter
upholstery fabric and polyester batting, 2016

installation view of Hometown Hero (Chink) at SPRING/BREAK Art Show 2017

installation view of Hometown Hero (Chink) at SPRING/BREAK Art Show 2017

installation view of Hometown Hero (Chink) at SPRING/BREAK Art Show 2017

installation view of Hometown Hero (Chink) at SPRING/BREAK Art Show 2017