Q: How did growing up as a first-generation immigrant impact your worldview, and ultimately, your work?
A: Growing up as a first-gen immigrant has everything to do with everything for me: it’s perhaps the largest part of my identity and what makes me myself. It has put me on an ongoing journey of floating back and forth in perpetuum between time zones 17 hours apart, trying to navigate myself to a place that feels like home. I’ve been through cycles of feeling more Canadian than Korean, or more Asian than part of the Western world. I’ve been regarded as too Asian by some, and yet labeled as “whitewashed,” or a “banana” or “twinkie” by others.
My work is ultimately my response to the experiences I’ve had, and is part of a process that helps me reach a conclusion that home is both nowhere and everywhere. In a world where one is expected to either assimilate or become alienated, be labeled as “one of us,” or “one of them,” I’m creating my own niche, my own home.