KimyiBo Art

My Journey of Becoming a Mother, Part Two

One day while Blessings I was on display at Larson gallery in St. Paul, TH (my husband), our baby Love and I were on our way to the gallery to document the exhibition.

I could not pinpoint it, but something was off about TH that day. I was getting frustrated at his incoherency of words and actions. Rather, I should have been suspicious. When we arrived at the gallery, through the glass doors I saw three visitors looking at my works. Some students, I assumed. Then I noticed they were Asians, and then I thought I may know them, and then came a shock. There they were, two Christines and Sung from California.

It was a kind of misalignment among multiple realities, where continuity of time and space was no longer linear.

In a split of a second I travelled across intergalactic space to come to understand what was going on before my eyes. My friends came to Minnesota from California that morning to see my show and TH knew about it but I did not. After processing the situation with loud laughs and some tears we realised we were hungry so we got into our Volkswagen Golf–five adults and a baby with a carseat–and drove to a pizzeria.

There was yet one more surprising encounter that would be revealed a few days later. Already inside the Golf,  there were five adults and TWO babies not one, who were craving a cheesy slice. My second baby Hope came sneakily like that on a cold day of January 2012.

Pregnancy, for me, is clear in a sense it divides one calendar year into four pieces—three months of a beginning stage followed by three months of a thriving era, then three months of waiting, a grand moment of finally meeting, and three final months of a darkness. All three of my babies, innocent and nonchalant,  came to take a nine-month-lease in my uterus in January in even number years. (Mon Uterus, c’est pas encore disponible!) These babies are Love, Hope, and Faith in that order.

My pregnancy with Hope was the toughest one, especially the first three months. I ate because I wanted to forget about my body but eating only reminded me of it so I wanted to throw up. More efficiently I found movies that would carry my mind away from my body. Among them were the Harry Potter series and a Korean romantic comedy entitled “Do you like the bear of a spring day?”

Weeks passed and snow turned into the color of the earth. I had to pick myself back up to prepare for the exhibition. Gage family art gallery where I would be showing in summer was made of glass walls that shaped the space one long transparent box. The light coming into the gallery and prominent geometric order of the space inspired in me a movement, gentle yet forcefully charged with warmth.

I started my commute to the Highpoint centre for printmaking again, but only by car this time.

(I am trying  not to stretch my story too long but this is the best I am able to achieve this week. My plan was to tell the whole story of Blessings II  but boy, the more I write, the more memories are rolling in…)

My Journey of Becoming a Mother, Part One

It has been seven years from my first pregnancy. Now I am reflecting back on the whole thing as I am sipping a cup of good coffee while trying to forget about  my lower back pain. In the back of my mind, I murmur, how unthoughtful of me to have done yoga three days after giving birth. The back pain started with my last birth. It has been a strange way of keeping track of time. This is how I understand chronology: by mapping an incident on the timeline of my pregnancies and births number one, two, and three.

Blessings I was started in 2010 when my first child turned one. (I resist to say I was a passionate young woman then.) I had my work chosen in a group exhibition titled Women: Relationship and Identity and I brought my  baby and nursed her in the back room during the opening. At the discussion session among the invited artists and the curator, I proudly said “Isn’t it about your choice? You can be both a successful artist and mother; we can choose to have only one child, for example, right?”

And I really meant what I said. Five weeks after giving birth to my first baby, I had a deadline to meet, which involved painting on a flying piggy in cast iron.

The iron piggy was myself. I had a star to catch and I was living in a world of hideous sea creatures. Nonetheless the reality was that  I was nursing a child during the half of my waking hours and the distinction between night and day became meaningless. I couldn’t have painted this pig without my mom rocking back and fourth a child so I hold a brush instead.

After my mom left, the real challenge had started.

I became a fighter

for my rights, my time, and my own pursuit of happiness.

I typed artist statement and edited my resumé to apply for exhibitions. My research of venus didn’t stop at the boundary of local. Scared of New York, I went to Chicago. During the spring break of my husband’s law school, we blazed through Chicago wind to hit all the galleries that I wanted to check out. A kind woman who was then a owner of a big gallery let me nurse my baby and change diaper in her back office. In hindsight such warm memories were the only gain I had from the Chicago trip.

Two good news came to my email inbox while I was in Geneva, summer 2011: I won two exhibitions opportunities through University of Minnesota and Augsburg college. I begged my husband to take a leave from his law school for one semester so he can be a full time dad. He could not say no. I was too determined.

In September 2010, a week after celebrating our daughter’s first year birthday, I took my bicycle on Green Lane of Minneapolis to go to the Highpoint Center of printmaking. Green Lane is like freeway for bicycles. I worked until lunch, quickly took my salad and worked again until five in the evening. I dared not waste a single minute. Even the weather was on my side. I don’t remember a drop of rain during my bike commute until winter. I finished making twelve copper plates for  Blessings I and had my first prints ready for exhibition at Larson gallery, St. Paul.

(My Journey of Becoming a Mother: Part Two is to be continued…)

 

Blessings is a collection of artworks and poems that reflect the inner landscape of a woman undergoing an identity shift from an artist to a mother. The six titles of poems represent the phases or stages of  an emotional transformation. The images corresponding to twelve months of the year are rendered in an elemental language of repeating motifs and colour.

Art Local

New Class in Calligraphy/Brush Painting

Sunday 15h00-17h30 (Except Geneva school holidays)

Place: Crayons de Soleil (7 Rue Ernest-Hentsch, Geneve 1207)

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Korean/Chinese Calligraphy and brush painting could come off at first as rigid and strict in comparison to other methods of drawing and painting. Not only that, each area among the three requires hours and years of practice to “master” it. The history this ancient art form is vast and there had been numerous masters in the past who put unreachable standards for the posterity.

However, it is good to remember it is not about impressing other people or pleasing a critical self. It is rather for the enjoyment of the moment of practicing, losing oneself in the act of writing or painting, and coming back to life energised and enlightened.

The workshops are meant to be taken individually or in multiples consecutively or not. It is recommended to follow 5 Classes of Initiation to Calligraphy/Brush Painting.

Class 1 Historical Background of Chinese and Korean Calligraphy, Introduction to materials, Getting to the brush exercises

Class 2 Basic Strokes for Chinese characters I

Class 3 Basic Strokes for Chinese characters II

Class 4 Basic Strokes for Chinese characters III

Class 5 Putting the strokes together. Letter “Young”

After having learned 8 basic strokes of Chinese characters, each student can choose to pursue one of three domains:

Chinese Characters (Standard Script)

Korean Characters (A wood-block printing style of Hangul calligraphy)

Brush Painting (Plum Blossoms, Bamboo, Chrysanthemum, Orchid)

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Prices:

400 CHF for 10 classes of 2.5 hours of teaching (40 CHF per class)

225 CHF for 5 classes (45 CHF per class)

50 per class if preferred to pay each time

10 for a trial class. (All materials are provided)

For Information and Registration:

Bo Lee +41 (0)78 623 53 64

kimyibo@gmail.com

http://www.kimyibo.com