Mamabot-Ms. Daegu is composed of 18 picture frames. Five of them are Megan Gafford’s graphite drawings of her memories from
Daegu, and the rest is a mix of photos taken from my personal spaces. Some are from my current home in Denver, and some are from
my childhood homes from at least 4-5 different places, in fact, none from Daegu. As I investigate my sense of home, one of the strong sentiments was that home is where mom is. I also learned recently that my mom was born in Daegu, but she moved to Busan as an infant. Therefore,she does not have any sort of memory from the city. I find it surprising because whenever my mom was asked about
her hometown, she always replied Daegu, without any second of hesitation. We find a home, call it home because of different reasons. Daegu, to me, is almost synonymous with my mom, no matter why she called it her home. (FYI, Daegu is known as the city of beautiful maidens – perhaps, she enjoyed such an association.)
With the stay-at-home orders due to the COVID-19, the latter part of the collaboration with Megan was limiting, in some ways. However,
I spent ample time with my 4 and 12-year-old boys watching Transformers and many robot animation series. One day I laid out these picture frames on the floor for an overall installation, and briefly left to answer a phone call. I returned to find my 4-year old, starting a design that reminded me of a robot-like figure. We both knew what we wanted to make together. This Mamabot is a serendipitous result
of both proposed and unexpected collaborations by the pandemic.
ARRIVED, SERIES OF SUITCASES, 2016 -
At age 16, I decided to reduce all my life into two check-ins and a carry-on. “The packing, which is the act—the art—of figuring out what not to take. You packed what you thought was essential, discarded what you thought wasn’t, spent years figuring out how much of that you’d gotten right (from A Ghost Story by Aharon Levy, 2019)”. As anonymous and hard to identify as they are at the arrival from the distance, yet unique and compelling at the personal level, these black suitcases embody shared emotions by the immigrants.
"These bags have arrived. The pockets are bulging out. The zippers are undone, revealing the interior. Have carried their maximum load of essentials, the straps are not secured and are unable to hold together one’s belongings. In this series, titled Arrived, suitcases are various internal spaces of my journey". - from artist's notes