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Culture plays an important role in shaping our lives and our perspectives. Being Korean-American, I appreciate the richness of both my cultures — the long history and traditions of Asian culture while being inspired by the freedoms and progressive nature of Western culture. In my recent series, I take a revered creature from Korean mythology — the Haetae — and depict it from a modern perspective. The Haetae was known to protect Koreans from disaster. Artworks of this creature, usually from the 13th to 17th century, are done in a simple palette. There are also many statues of the Haetae in Seoul carved from stone, without color. My artworks are about an appreciation of tradition, fusing it with contemporary, 3-D abstract aspects — it’s about valuing traditions while breathing new life into them, using vibrant colors to show the creature’s playfulness as well as to depict the contrast between the muted palette in classical Korean drawings and the variation of colors in modern artworks.
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