I was 8 months old when I arrived in the U.S. I was born in South Korea, but raised in Rochester, NY. As I took in my new home and began to adapt to a new way of living, I found myself struggling to fit in and fill in the gaps. I always knew that I was adopted, but I never understood what that actually meant. It began with my classmates who would point out my differences and question why I looked so different from my parents. Being the only Asian girl in class, I stood out and therefore couldn't avoid these questions. Embarrassed, I kept my adoption a secret. For years, I chose to remain hidden from the world in order to shield myself from any judgment or criticism. At the time, I once believed that no one would ever like me if they knew the real me.
It wasn't until I started using art as an outlet where I became strong enough to face my inner demons and to finally accept who I truly am. I would fully immerse myself in my artwork during a time of loss, confusion or sadness. For me, it is the only way that I am able to heal and move on. Instead of trying to escape reality, I was uncovering a part of me that I've tried to erase for so long. After years of convincing myself that I could never belong because I am Asian and an adoptee, I finally realized what mattered is what I feel in my heart, knowing that I have a purpose and to not let those who judge or misunderstand me change who I am. Accepting myself meant embracing my Korean heritage and has led me to explore more about my background.
A clock that can never slow down, but does not reveal its time symbolizes my internal struggle to let go of a painful past. In a time-based piece, I grieve, reflect and honor four important women who have made an impact in my life: my birth Mother, foster mothers, and my adoptive Mom. I was only 21 years old when my Mom passed away. I was at an age where I needed my Mother's guidance more than ever. I was constantly told that time would heal everything and that eventually, I would find happiness again. Six years have gone by and I can still recall that very same pain. Thinking about my Mom fills my heart with so much joy yet also brings me so much heartache and emptiness as we are now apart. After years of carrying this sorrow, I've learned that we don't actually heal over time as our loved ones are irreplaceable. Instead, we grow numb and we have to learn how to survive and persevere through dark times.