PHI Foundation, Sept 22, 2021 – Jan 09, 2022 – 451 St Jean (4FL)
The installation “SAEKDONG색동DIASPORA” by kimura byol-nathalie lemoine is made of 8 elements that brings together a multitude of objects in careful arrangement to reference their transnational experiences. The work explores themes of identity formation based on ethnicity, nationality, adoption, migration, and how all these might be expressed through objects and organic materials. “SAEKDONG색동DIASPORA” is presented as part of the exhibition “… and room in the bag of stars” alongside other artists from this year’s PHI Montréal residency program. Open until January 9, 2022 Free admission · Reservations required
0. Seeds from the East (reference), book, 1956 (USA)
In this book, Bertha Holt recounts the events that led her and her husband Harry Holt to adopt eight South Korean children and to facilitate the adoption of 220,000 other South Korean “orphans” internationally.
1. sarang han tiohtià:ke (air) QR code, video, colour with sound (9:16), 17:06
In this video work, the seeds of one place growing in another evoke the artist’s diasporic journey, reproduction, and the possibility of finding one’s own emotional connections of nostalgia and melancholy in the city of Tiohtià:ke
2. sauvé·e des eaux (rice paper) Japanese rice paper booklet, saekdong, 100 x 17 cm
In the early 1990s, due to their possession of a tourist visa in their native country of South Korea, the artist had to travel back and forth between their country and the nearest country that did not require an entry visa, Japan. Taking advantage of these repeated trips, the artist would bring back Japanese art materials to South Korea. Their apartment was flooded during the rainy season and many material possessions, including their Korean passport, were lost—only this notebook, which bears the mark of the rising water level in space, could be ‘saved from the waters’ like Moses.
3. dying in japan (water) 100 plastic medicine vials, water, 100 seeds of false indigo, 100 x 100 cm
This work is the result of the artist’s experimentation with 100 seeds of false indigo, presented in a display case measuring 100 centimetres by 100 centimetres. The initial idea was to soak the seeds in water to obtain dye. Instead, the seeds began to germinate when exposed to the sunlight of the exhibition room, evoking the process of in vitro fertilization.
4. counting days (wood) 100 lotus seeds and acorns, thread, saekdong, frame, 31 x 37 cm
The abacus, present in China for several centuries, was a subject of mockery for the artist, being of Asian appearance and adopted by a Western family/society. The memory of this mockery resurged during their immigration process to Canada, which requires a precise count of the days spent on Canadian territory, in order to obtain permanent residency and, eventually, citizenship.
5. unseeded land (earth) 100 Mason jars, stolen land, 100 x 100 cm
The work presents jars of 100 grams of soil stolen from parks in Tiohtià:ke/Montréal that have a community attachment to the artist’s new immigrant identities.
6. uncovered stories (metal) Saekdong, 100 Mason jar lids, 100 x 100 cm
The lines of the saekdong (traditional Korean fabric) that are laminated onto Mason jar lids are placed according to Australian Aboriginal perspective, which is based on the centre/middle as a vanishing point. The lids, arranged in a 100 centimetre by 100 centimetre square, hide the ‘real’ stories of adoptees and early peoples through invasion or export as methods of colonization.
7a. seedless ajumma (wind) 6 x 100 seeds, transparent plastic sleeves, 100 x 100 cm – dedicated to biological mothers/fathers
The work consists of 6 seeds (iris, mugunghwa/hibiscus, sakura/cherry tree, bamboo, cosmos and marigolds) from the 8 cities where the artist has lived (Busan, Watermael-Boitsfort, Bruxelles/Brussels, 서울/Séoul/Seoul, Tiohtià:ke/Montréal), placed in bags of hope. Ajumma (or 아줌마) is a Korean word for a married woman, or a woman that is 40 years old or more. The term is less polite than ajumeoni, but means the same thing.
7b. seeded ajumma (emptiness) 100 biloba leaves, transparent plastic sleeves, 100 x 100 cm – dedicated to adoptive mothers/fathers
In some Asian countries, gingko (은행나무) is a symbol of money, banking, but also some mafias. The work is made of 100 (naturally) fallen leaves, selected, preserved, and packaged as we present adoptees (abroad and in Western families) to future adoptive parents.
8. yikinging spaces (time) Video, colour with sound (16:9) 10:00
This meditative ballad is a diasporic voyage based on elements of the Yi-King and the colours of the saekdong (traditional Korean fabric) in a vertical composition (Asian perspective).
* To all the seeds from the East to the West
The artist thanks : Hiba Abas (Familiprix), Chittakone Baccam, Ryan Baker, Magenta Baribeau, Marie-France Breton, Yves Cantraine, Dahlia Cheng, Maïly Daïgle, Rixt de Boer, Shayo Detchema, Stefanie Di Tommaso, Cheryl Donison, Alanna Fitzgerald, Juniper Glass, MP Grenier, Thé Guru (t-guru.ca), Anne-F Jacques, camille käse, Adel KSK, Catherine Lalonde Massecar, lamathilde, Aude Lespagnard, Kim Maurice, Laure Neuville, Pak Okkyung, Marilie Ross, Bill Ryan, Libbie Shea, Coral Short, Cheryl Sim, Ludmila Steckelberg, Alanna Thain, Mary Sui Yee Wong, Amelia Wong-Mersereau, Sunny Young, Ji Yun.