Fancied Strokes

Panda and Bamboo

“Pour moi, la calligraphie est une discipline qui nous aide de renforcer la confiance en soi à tracer le plaisir créatif.”

Above quote: My friend Franziska translated what I said to French. Thought it sounded nice.

I never liked panda until my students of brush painting class showed me with their twinkling eyes that pandas are cute.

Community Art Project

Collective Photography Project

Mothering Our Varied Lives

I am launching collective photography project about mothering called Mothering Our Varied Lives. Mothering Our Varied Lives is a series of social-connecting and art-making sessions to let your mothering voices shine. 

If you have been wanting to say something about how mothering has been changing you, your relationships, your spirituality, JOIN US. It sounds and looks very formal but it is NOT AT ALL formal.

I will facilitate five Zoom meetings of looking at art about mothering to Inspire us with homework assignments to take photography at home. We will make different attempts together to make records of fast shifting experiences of mothering.

The works will be shared online at the end of the project.


Mondays, 12h30-1h30 CEST

3 May – 7 June, 2021 (There is no meeting on 24 May)

Registeration and info: 

*Disclaimer:  This is not a photography class. No previous skills or knowledge in art required. We are all amateurs trying to learn the use the medium to understand our experiences and share them with the world. 

Mothering Our Varied Lives is presented by Institute of Mothering Artists (IOMA)

With the generous support of Redeemer Grace Church of Geneva

Institute of Mothering Artists (IOMA) is a network of life-long carers and self-identifying artists. We generate art projects and learning opportunities, giving each other other company and encouragement to continue making art in the midst of busy caring lives. 

KimyiBo Art

Mothering Our Varied Lives

Indeed, to relocate the heart of existence in the home and in motherhood is an inherently subversive artistic act. If Kim Brooks worries that the job of art is to unsettle and the job of a mother is to soothe, perhaps there is no more unsettling solution than to insist she can do both, that there is, in fact, no conflict there, that motherhood itself is dark and uncharted and frightening. What if, in fact, motherhood is a boon to the artist? What if writing motherhood is the frontier, is the uncharted territory into which we must step if literature is to advance? 

Mother, Writer, Monster, Maid,  Rufi Thorpe, Vel

I am simmering the idea of creating a collaborative art project about art & mothering & spirituality. There is just so much stuff to be examined, probed, and just simply understood in the daily struggles of being a mother. So much… but all the evidences and data evaporate as quickly as our memories just in the same way I can’t remember what we had for dinner last night. It’s just that my brain can’t hold them all. Its foremost priority is to make this day turn, so it must employ itself to the thought of what I am going to make for breakfast and what I need to stock up in the fridge.

As I am allowing this time to myself I realise the stuff from last dinner is still there in the mind somewhere. With an intention I can let it emerge. I was fighting my reluctance to step into the kitchen at 6PM. I made my body to move and stand in front of the sink and open the fridge, by the force of complaining to my partner that I already spent three hours cooking in the morning and no-one else in the house worries about what to eat next…. there is actually a long story to tell.

So I want to collect these stories from people who are doing the work of mothering everyday. Together we want to make the time for ourselves to remember some of the details in our quotidian world and turn some of these stories into tangible materials. The working title of this project is Mothering Our Varied Lives.

To make the most of oneself is not to forsake one’s identity as a woman or as a mother. It is not to become an art monster if the monster in question is nothing but a drunk asshole. But it is also not to bend entirely, to flap hinge open to your children and your husband and the underwear that may be nestled behind a door, and give up the terrible, wonderful, furtive dream that is the self. To come second entirely, to be only mother, maid, cook, wife, is also not to make the most of oneself. One must learn how and when not to bend. It is this, the balance between selflessness and selfishness, that is so difficult, but also, I would like to believe, worthwhile.

Rufi Thorpe

Listening as Care

On intersubjectivity

Wisdom states that « everything and anything that is worthy of pursuit is deeply relational. » 

Contemplating on such intersubjectivity leads us to believe 

that our thoughts and actions matter to the world; 

that our growth depends on that of others.

Care is an act of helping others grow. 

Care work becomes a political act in that it shapes the world. 

Care work is needed most when we feel helpless.

Caring is empowering.

A tactic would be to create a space that puts care at the center. In this space we practice how to be “with” one another. We recognize the agency of each individual through experimental listening; there are no limitations. 

This space should be welcoming, non-judgemental and encouraging.

In this space we can learn how to be « with » each other in helping one another grow. It means we recognize that the person we are helping has power to formulate his or her own thoughts and opinions. Based on this understanding we can engage in experimental listening exercises. Anyone can pose a question to the group for collective reflection. Then each person goes on his or her way to answer this question. Walking, singing, reading, dancing, drawing, or any other means of exploration can be used. Then we can share what we received with others in a group. We respond to each other’s answer genuinely and honestly. 

Perhaps there might be an action that could come out of collective listening exercises but it is not the only nor ultimate goal. 

(Collective action may arise organically but it is not the main goal…) 

If there is a collective action that is called forth it should only be suggested, not forced, to each participant. 

This is only one example of what we can do when we create a space of care. Other activities that can foster collective listening skill could be suggested. 

Listening as Care. 

I wrote this piece of writing as a part of collaborative artwork “Communes évidences” which was generated by artist collective Microsillon.

Hundred people who was invited by Microsillon have answered to one common question within a limit of using one hundred words.

This is the question:


You can see the other 99 answers and how these collective ponderings were presented as a “bundle” (an object-artwork made of a piece of fabric that form a baluchon (the bag Freire and Illich carry as “pilgrims of the obvious”) in this link:

KimyiBo Art

Painting Mothering

These paintings are for me, a reminder to see the the value of the work I am doing as a woman performing mothering every day. While my responsibilities of taking care of young people chip away at my productivity as an artist, I believe this work has transformed me as a person and as an artist to be more “caring”.

Visually, I have never showed works with figures before because I always felt I was not good at it. Only the deep need to put myself unapologetically (as an Asian woman) on the picture planes pushed me to start using people as one of the main elements of my images. It is freeing that I tried!

As a bonus, people who saw these works through exhibition and by pictures told me that these images speak to them. I take as a permission to keep up at it. KimyiBo turns to #figurative_painting in 2020 LOL

Fancied Strokes


This morning I wrote the history of the character 敬 RESPECT from Bronze script(almost picture like script) to grass script(the most cursive writing). In bronze script, which is the earliest of form of Chinese characters, the word 敬 is made by combining two characters: 1)The left part: a picture of a dog whose ears are upright as if he is listening well ; 2) The right part: a picture of a hand holding a stick.

So it could mean making someone or a dog… to listen with a help of a stick. Hmmm… sounds a bit forced, right? I thought of this for a while, and thought to myself that respect does not come super naturally to me. I have to strongly will myself to listen and pay attention to other’s will or desire. If not my instinct is to listen to what I want, what I need, or what I feel.

I was reading the book of Job in the Bible in which the protagonist, Job, is going through an unimaginably rough time. In a dialogue with his friends, he ask, “where can wisdom be found?” He is just trying to make sense of why he has to suffer so much, I think. He concludes by saying that “Respecting God is the wisdom.”

I think people can have different definition of “who” or “what” God is. Without having to define this concept, I can say that wisdom has everything to do with relationship with someone or something. What if one of my goals of art is to help myself to respect others better?

art education

Teaching helps me to figure out what art means for me

This June I graduated from my second master in Fine Art : Beaux Arts : 순수미술 (literally translated as pure art). That means I now have three professional degrees in this discipline. I am not saying this to brag about it at all. I am trying to understand myself why I have been doing this. This is definitely not a practical degree. At best it prepares you for an occupation that does not exist. Visual artist is not recognized as a profession in Switzerland unless you are are selling A LOT… but most of us in this industry don’t, so we have a second or third job that pays our bills and tries to do our best to check in at our studios as much as possible in the remaining time.

My studio is my living room and my second job is being a stay-at-home mom. So I “work from home.” More than half of the time, I am also doing care work including cleaning, playing with kids, cooking… etc. So I don’t know when my work number 1 and 2 starts and ends.

(STOP getting distracted with your artist-mother stuff!!! Get back to the point!)

Today I want to think about why I want to teach drawing. I have been teaching Asian calligraphy and drawing to children of age 8-10 at an English speaking private school once a week since this fall. I discovered a lot of things about what I value in art through teaching.

Teaching helped me to understand what art means to me in much more effective way than what my formal education at three different art schools did for me. I think in choosing what to transmit to others, it becomes clear to you what it is that is most essential for you. The fact that I chose to teach drawing rather than sculpture or conceptual art, for example, tells me that it a medium that is closest to my heart.

So for me, foremost drawing is a pleasure. I take such a pleasure in drawing and calligraphy and I can’t think of anything else that gives me this particular kind of joy. What more can be said about this?

Secondly drawing is an outlet… for my emotions. My way of letting out my emotions through my art work is indirect and subtle in comparison to more expressive art that we see, but my emotions are surely in the images I create. It is because when I am drawing, painting, or printing I allow my mind, eye, and hand to actively engage with the image that I am working with. When finish a project, I often experience a feeling that I have let go of something that is dear to me.

Thirdly drawing is for me a space where I allow my questions to be. As I get older, I get more easily overwhelmed by people’s different perspectives and puzzled by events that arrive at my door day to day. I try at first to talk about them with people I trust but then there are some things that can not be articulated in spoken words in a logical way. Visual language allows more room for paradox and contradictions to exist as they are without asking them to get neatly sorted out. I know poetry does the exact thing, and that’s why I like poetry.

Ironically when we are learning art in higher education (at a college or university), we are asked to explain our art with logical words. It is to encourage and push the students to think deeper about their art and develop it further… I also benefited a lot from this training. I learned to extract key words from a glob of enmeshed subjects that I am dealing with in one art project and identify my own “position” on a particular theme that I am engaging with. Sometimes students are asked to make her or his position clearer–to push it further. In a opposite situation, when a student’s states her or his position outright in a too obvious manner, it may be advised that the work needs more nuance. All these are very interesting processes, but very much leaning toward employing our cognitive faculties.

Those of us who prefer to work more spontaneously and intuitively may have difficult time at an art school. But I want to encourage them (I am one of them) to persevere. Two years pass by quickly and you can get back to your studio practice after graduation. Mostly likely your art have gained depth from these years.

As I am teaching art to children of age 5-10, I want to do my best to create an environment or situation where they can experience art as: finding pleasure. letting go of their emotions, and/or engaging with a question. When these accounts accumulate, they may become confident in pursuing what they think is good.