The Fantasy World of JooYoung Choi at the Crow Museum of Asian Art – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
In Houston-based artist JooYoung Choi’s fantasy world, superheroes, brightly colored flowers and a magical bed represent human resilience and strength.
JooYoung Choi: Songs of Resilience from the Tapestry of Faith is on view at the Crow Museum of Asian Art in the Dallas Arts District through September 4.
Choi’s exhibition is the third and final installation in the museum’s multi-year series featuring Texas-based contemporary Asian female artists. Choi was born in Seoul, South Korea, adopted and raised in Concord, Massachusetts. She moved to Houston in 2012.
The multidisciplinary artist uses paintings, large-scale soft sculpture works, puppets, music and video to explore questions of identity and belonging through an elaborate sci-fi world she has created. created. “She builds everything you see,” said Jacqueline Chao, the museum’s senior curator of Asian art.
She calls her universe the Cosmic Womb, filling it with spectacular characters.
“A lot of these characters are very rich with complex layered stories with superheroes, villains, and they’re very multi-dimensional,” Chao said. “What’s really special about this exhibit is being able to connect this sci-fi fantasy genre universe while also highlighting individual characters.”
Choi was inspired by media from her childhood such as sesame street, Neighborhood of Mr. Rogers, and the Marvel Universe. Throughout the exhibit are character cards similar to the Guide to the Marvel Universe that Choi liked to read with his friends in the school cafeteria. Each card explains the character’s backstory, superpower, and includes gender pronouns.
“We want to show their fullness as beings,” Chao said.
The artist merges her personal story of adoption into her work to address the emotional arc of her life.
“I wanted this show to celebrate all of the different types of strands, all of these different types of experiences that I’ve had that have woven together to create my own tapestry of faith that has taken me on the journey to be enough. brave to go to Korea on my own to reunite with my birth family,” Choi said.
Choi celebrates the people who encouraged her by creating characters with superpowers.
“Every journey we take in our lives, there are hundreds of people who have been there in one way or another to help us believe that we are brave and strong and that we can do the things we we’re called to do in our lives, whether it’s a teacher who stays with us after school or a family friend who just gives us a ride when we find it hard to talk about our feelings,” Chao said. These moments come together to create our tapestry of faith. Each of the paintings is a moment, it’s that strand, that song of resilience, where something reminds us, ‘You’ve got this. You’re stronger than you even realize. is celebrated in each of these plays in one way or another.
For large scale soft carving work, Like a thunderbolt, faith steps in and sees you throughChoi recruited volunteers to create flowers in a garden called Garden of love and courage. The flowers are meant to represent someone who loves the volunteer unconditionally.
With the help of her parents, a three-year-old volunteer created a flower depicting tigers.
“She grabbed her grandmother’s hand at the opening and dragged her grandmother inside and said, ‘Grandma, I’m in a museum,'” Choi said. “For her to feel that level of privilege and that the art is also for her means so much to me.”
Like a Thunderbolt features a magical bed named Pom Pom Thunder that reunites separated families using a highway of dreams. As an interactive element of the exhibit, guests can write down their dreams using a black light pen to encourage Pom Pom Thunder on his journey.
This exhibit includes Choi’s latest film, Spectra Force Vive: Infinite Pie Delivery Service. The film features superheroes who save the world by unleashing the untold stories and untold truths of the universe.
“They travel the universe to remind people that they don’t have to fight for their piece of the pie,” Choi said. “We all have our own cake, our own path and our own vision for our lives.”
Choi developed the film after interviewing people about identity and the American media’s portrayal of girls, women, intersex, transgender, and non-binary people of color. Choi created the film using puppets and voice actors, artists, musicians and puppeteers from around the world during the pandemic.
“Even though we were so socially distant, I was able to make these amazing friends through technology,” Choi said. “I learned so much and I think I became more able to share my work and expand the circle of creativity through the process.”
The exhibit is designed to bring out the child in everyone.
“I hope it can bring out that inner part of you and that you can remember your song of resilience and share it with the people you bring into this space,” Choi said.
Learn more about https://crowcollection.org/exhibition/jooyoung-choi/.