YOONA LEE / Run Race Ragged: Three Takes on Racial Politics in America
Opens Thursday, May 12th during the Capitol Hill Art Walk
On view through June 5th, 2016
Exhibit Also Viewable Online
Race in America is a sprawling, messy topic. By using three different approaches—large-scale abstract painting, mixed-media conceptual collage, and figurative drawing—I seek to address the intellectual and visceral experience of being a minority in a deeply polarized country.
The gestural paintings began as a response to the shooting of Michael Brown in 2014. They were a cathartic way for me to cope with the trauma of racism in America, from the police-instigated murders to the systemic racism driving mass incarceration. The random patterns made by the
paint reveal tumultuous narratives of struggle and liberation.
The collage series is a reflection on Otherness, marginalization, and histories of oppression. These spare compositions reference critical race theory and the identity politics central to the minority experience.
The figurative self-portrait addresses the tokenism and underrepresentation of racial minorities in a white-centered society. When you’re not represented in mainstream media, sometimes the only way is to represent yourself. In this way, a self-portrait becomes an act of cultural resistance.
Art has the persuasive power to change the conversation in America; it can even lead the way toward radical social transformation. By sharing this work, and providing commentary below certain pieces, I hope to initiate an empathetic dialogue.
Yoona Lee is a Korean-American cross-disciplinary artist who uses visuals, writing, and performance in her creative practice. Her work has been shown at the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience, the 2015 Art & Social Change Showcase, Zeitgeist Coffee, and various literary magazines. An outspoken racial equity activist, Yoona has been quoted in publications ranging from Real Change to British Vogue. She has led art and writing workshops at the 2015 Seattle Race Conference and the Robinson Center for Young Scholars at the University of Washington. Yoona has most recently cofounded a diversity initiative at the global marketing agency where she works as a professional copyeditor.
Yoona received her bachelor’s degree in English, with a minor in Fine Arts,
from the University of Pennsylvania.
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