Never Forget

This year has been full of challenges for me as an Asian American, a Korean adoptee, and a biological female. I didn’t know the eight victims (six Asians, four Korean women, and two Whites) murdered in the March Atlanta spa shootings personally but it deeply affected and disturbed me. The killer’s reason for taking their lives, the ignorant prejudiced insistence of others that the woman were prostitutes, and the silence of White and Black friends about it was a slap to my face.

I have never felt more angry, confused, sad and unhappy about being a citizen of the United States, about being an Asian woman, about being adopted. For most of my life I have ignored my past and resigned myself to the racist treatment I experience. I have made excuses for others behaviors and silenced myself so others don’t feel uncomfortable. It’s a strange place to be in sitting with so many emotions – angry with and concerned for others, happy to be creating yet also sad. As a result I decided to take all of it off the shelf. I decided to sit at the table with it inviting people to join me to discuss feelings and thoughts in a different way with this piece (and others to come) made in memoriam to the victims.

Say their names:

Soon Chung Park, age 74
Hyun Jung Grant, age 51
Suncha Kim, age 69
Yong Yue, age 63
Delaina Ashley Yaun, age 33
Paul Andre Michels, age 54
Xiaojie Tan, age 49

I share this on the 4th of July, Independence Day, to celebrate my and other Asian Americans’ liberation from our own silence and acceptance of the way we are treated by White and Black America.
The poppy is a flower symbolizing remembrance in many cultures. In the past 100 years, Britain has staked a claim of ownership on this flower that originated from the middle east. For the East, I take this flower back. For the Asian Americans murdered, I invoke “Never Forget”. For other Korean adoptees I light a lamp beside the golden door. For all the women who have suffered by the hands of a man, I stand beside you and hold your hand offering strength and consolation for the wrongs done to you.

2021 wheel-thrown ceramic, handpainted with oxides, matt and transparent glazes, crackled and gilded
10.5 x 9.5cm, unique piece
Never Forget Series

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