Chosen by: Helesia Luke, Gallery Member
“My friend is the lady in green on the top row in the image above. This picture of my friend is taken by her sister, the artist, also a friend. It doesn’t usually appear like this. It’s usually seen in A Group of Sixty-Seven, one of many faces that are simultaneously individual and part of a collective. Like this.
These portraits, hanging in a gallery, pictured against a painted landscape of iconic Canadian imagery are part of an exploration of place, identity, and cultural belonging. I know this.
But I am searching for something else. I am trying to find the faces I know. I am searching for halmeoni (grandma) who greets guests with extraordinary feasts and sends visitors home with jars of roasted sesame seeds and harabeoji (grandpa) who is always happy to see us and tells us to come over more often.
I am looking for the sisters and brother and uncles and aunts and cousins and friends who taught us to sing happy birthday in Korean, who convinced our daughter she too was Korean when she was little and who remember the details of our lives that I have forgotten.
I cut this picture out of the paper once when it appeared in a feature story about the artist and put it on my fridge because that’s what you do when a picture of your friend is in the newspaper.”