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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

‘THE BORDERS’ Opening Reception March 25, The Amelie A. Wallace Gallery at SUNY College

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Open from March 25 – April 23, 2009
Artists: Nicole Awai, Erika Harrsch, Jane Jin Kaisen, Katia Kameli, Camilo Ontiveros,
Richard Ross, Patricia Ruiz-Navarro, Riiko Sakkinen, Dae Seung Seo, Steve Staso,
Eric Van Hove, O Zhang

Curated by Hyewon Yi

Opening Reception and Performance: Wednesday, March 25, 2009, 4:30 – 7:30 pm
Performer: Calvin Gladen

The Amelie A. Wallace Gallery at SUNY College at Old Westbury is pleased to announce the opening of a group exhibition of twelve artists’ works addressing issues of immigration and migration. Comprising such diverse media as video, film, photography, painting, drawing, sculpture and installation, The Borders offers the viewer an opportunity to consider the political, social, and economic contribution that human migration makes to racial diversity, multiculturalism, and issues of national security through the eyes of artists, some of whom have personal experience of immigration.

A large portion of the exhibition comments on crossing the US southern border at a time of heightened sensitivity not merely to national security, but also to ethnic conflict. Mexico has been the chief source of immigration for nearly two decades, so it is fitting that this show includes such works as Caution Project by Mexican artist Camilo Ontiveros, who offers road signs that display silhouettes of families escaping poverty for a better life “on the other side.” In Ontiveros‘s video mockumentary The Ear of the Pollo, chickens illegally crossing the border are interviewed for remote radio broadcast. Mexican social psychologist Patricia Ruiz-Navarro’s affecting candid images in Friendship is No Longer There document the last days of Friendship Park, a meeting place where Mexicans on opposite sides of the border touched each other, shared food, even celebrated a birthday through the poignant separation of a steel mesh fence. With the closing of the park in January 2009 and the construction of a new fence thirty meters to the north, the hope and comfort experienced by loved ones separated by the immigration nightmare that unsettles countless Mexican families has been crushed. Erika Harrsch, another Mexican artist and a recent immigrant to the US, draws on her personal experience of traveling between Mexico and the US to create United States of North America (2009), a fictitious passport written in the three NAFTA members’ languages and displaying the image of a monarch butterfly, pinned like a specimen in a display case. Known for its semi-annual migrations between Canada and Central Mexico, the monarch follows a mysterious progression that takes several generations to complete, not unlike the multi-national, multi-generational migrations of some foreigners who become Americans. Finnish artist Riiko Sakkinen, himself an immigrant residing in Spain, offers a series of sardonic drawings referencing Mexican illegal immigrant culture as viewed through familiar commercial images such as “Old El Paso Taco”, “Pépito”, “Mexican Chili con Carne”, and the derogatory term wetback, embroidered in gold letters on a luxurious hotel towel. Californian Richard Ross presents eerie photographs of Customs and Border Protection interrogation rooms at international airports, where law enforcement in an era of terrorist attacks results in added anxiety for those arriving on US shores.

Traveling back and forth, between-ness, and cultural hybridity are central elements in works by other artists in The Borders. Born in France to a French-Algerian family, Katia Kameli explores the hybridization of two cultures by juxtaposing Western references with Arabic ones in her film Bledi a Possible Scenario (2005) that documents the everyday lives of Algerians. Among the film’s scenes is a dialogue amongst French-Algerian teenagers that gives a glimpse into their personal struggles and views of their future. Nicole Awai, born in Trinidad and educated in the US, investigates her own between-ness in a series of drawings, Specimens from Local Ephemera, in which a jointed dual female figure represents spatial and cultural shifts by collapsing and reconstituting the artist’s Caribbean identity, blurring gender, class, race, and tradition. Korean artist Dae Seung Seo photographs inter-ethnic couples in Korean shopping malls. Previously one of the world’s most homogeneous populations, Korea’s rural areas have seen its young women migrate to the cities as a result of rapid industrialization and waning agriculture. To remedy this situation, rural men have “imported” Southeast Asian brides, thereby creating a new social landscape of mixed cultures.

Moving from one place to another is not always a choice, as seen in the subjects presented by the next group of artists. Chinese O Zhang, who now resides in New York, contributes Daddy & I, a series of photographs in which the artist arranges Chinese daughters with their Western adoptive fathers in garden settings. These affectionate portraits depict interracial harmony while suggesting the paternalism of Western colonialism. In a similar vein, Jane Jin Kaisen, a Korean adopted by Danish parents, presents an installation that includes a wedding dress embroidered with a map of US military bases, a photo album, and a video that comments upon the complex postcolonial relationship between the US military and the South Korean civilian population, a relationship that includes Korean women marrying American servicemen and Korean children being adopted by white American families. Algerian-born Belgian artist Eric Van Hove presents a slide record of A Nos Morts (2005), a two-part installation in Tambacounda, Senegal that references colonialism, slavery, and the African diaspora. In the first part, migratory birds from Europe defecate over cardboard letters that form an excerpt from a poem by Guadeloupean Sonny Rupaire. In the second part, Van Hove wrote in white chalk on the grounds of a cattle slaughterhouse a five page excerpt from Cahier d’un Retour au Pays Natal (Notebook of a Return to the Native Land) by Afro-Martiniquan poet Aimé Césaire.

Detroit-born New York filmmaker Steve Staso presents The Cellar (2009), a triptych about three outsiders working in Hell’s Kitchen: a Lebanese immigrant cooking at French restaurant; a Colombian manicurist at a Korean-owned nail salon; and a lesbian African-American veteran of the Iraq War suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder who works as a building superintendent. Using both trained and untrained actors, many of whom are foreign born, and mixing factual and fictional elements, Staso’s film depicts the lives of multi-ethnic immigrants as they clash with mainstream society.

A reception to mark the opening of The Borders will be held between 4:30 pm and 7:30 pm on Wednesday, March 25, 2009. On opening night, actor Calvin Gladen will recite passages from Cahier d’un Retour au Pays Natal (Notebook of a Return to the Native Land) by Aimé Césaire.

The exhibition remains on view through April 23, 2009. Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday between
12 pm and 5pm, and by appointment.

The Borders received generous support from The School of Arts and Sciences, SUNY College at Old Westbury. The exhibition is part of the College-wide project “Immigration and the Migration of People”, which, during spring semester 2009, seeks to provide a common academic experience of the topic across departments.

The Wallace Gallery has arranged complimentary bus service to the opening reception. Guests will be picked up at 32nd Street & Park Avenue South near Chase Bank at 5:30pm. As space is limited, please contact Hyewon Yi to reserve seats.

For further information about The Borders, please contact gallery director Hyewon Yi at or 646-421-5863.

Amelie A. Wallace Gallery, Campus Center, Main Level, SUNY College at Old Westbury
Route 107, Old Westbury, New York 11568 tel: 516.876.3056/2709, 646.421.5863 fax: 516.876.4984. http://www.oldwestbury.edu. e-mail: . .

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Nodutdol at ECAASU today 3:30-4:30 p.m. and KASCON next weekend!

Korea: From Armistice to Peace
Axis of evil, human rights, nuclear missiles, terrorist state...these are what define Korea according to the mass media. Want to learn about Korea’s modern history beyond simple media caricatures? Come and learn about the history of war and division on the Korean peninsula, as well as the history of the Korean people’s movement for peace and the right to define their own future. Reflect on the history of the Korean Diaspora, talk about the impact of continued division and military conflict on Koreans everywhere, and learn about the national Peace Treaty campaign and what you can do to take action!

And if you are going to KASCON in Philadelphia next weekend March 6-8, 2009 we’ll be there as well. We will be tabling and doing a workshop. Details and location to be announced. Check back for more info!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

DEEP 2008 Report Back in San Francisco, “TWO WEEKS IN NORTH KOREA” NOV 19 & 20

In preparation for their trip, the participants were required “to read a tremendous amount about modern Korean history, including Japanese colonization and the Korean War, as well as current issues facing North Korea, such as the nuclear crisis, food and energy shortages, and human rights,” indicated Ahn.  Emphasizing intensive study as a major component of the program, Christine Hong, a postdoctoral fellow at UC Berkeley and a member of this year’s delegation, stated: “DEEP is not a tour for curious overseas Koreans who merely wish to sightsee in North Korea.  It’s a serious educational commitment that entails critical inquiry beyond Cold War and Bush-era caricatures of North Korea.”

For the Korean American and zainichi members of the delegation, exposure to North Korea through their DEEP experience enabled them to reflect upon and to question the narrowness of their identification with and orientation toward South Korea.  Miho Kim, a director at the DataCenter, a NGO that conducts social justice research and one of two zainichi in the delegation, observed: “For those of us who have inherited a legacy of suspicion and fear toward North Korea, this trip represented the first opportunity that we’ve had, as people of Korean descent, to connect with North Korea not as a regime or a perceived global threat but as another place in the world where people live, work, raise children, practice sports, go to school, sing together, and go on dates.”

In addition to participating in study sessions and exchanges with scholars, farmers, workers, and students in North Korea, the members of the delegation visited sites whose revolutionary histories pre-date 1945, the year when the Korean peninsula was divided.  “While reading Kim Il Sung’s essay on the participation of women in the anti-Japanese independence movement, I learned about a fighter whom he called ‘Washing-Club Woman’ in reference to her using a laundry club to bash in the head of a Japanese policeman so as to steal his weapons and join the frontlines of the guerrilla struggle.  I was so moved to discover that North Korea commemorates this amazing resistance fighter at the Revolutionary Martyrs’ Cemetery in Pyongyang,” stated Kei Fischer, a zainichi member of the delegation and an elementary school teacher.

Having taken part in a peace delegation to North Korea, the Bay Area participants express a renewed commitment to establishing genuine security on the Korean peninsula.  “While in North Korea, I couldn’t help but recall ‘Lim-jin River,’ a song written by the poet Se-Yong Park as he stood on what is today North Korean soil.  Calling out to the birds overhead, Park asks, ‘Please, messengers of freedom who know no borders, tell me who divided our motherland?’ Half a century later, the task has fallen to my generation to secure a healing resolution to the enduring trauma of national division,” Kim stated.  Echoing this sentiment, Ahn asserted the timeliness of peace advocacy for Korea: “In light of the financial crisis and its bloated military budget, the U.S. has greater incentive than before to sign a peace treaty with North Korea, which DEEP alumni will advocate for in the coming years.”

*****

Wednesday, November 19, 2008 (7-9 p.m.)
Eastside Arts Alliance
2277 International Blvd.
Oakland, CA 94606
(510) 533-6629

Thursday, November 20, 2008 (7-9 p.m.)
UC Berkeley
Dwinelle 370

Thursday, November 13, 2008

KEEP 2008 Reportback Seattle, WA November 22nd

This summer two members of Sahngnoksoo participated in a program called the Korea Education and Exposure Program (KEEP). Neither of us had experienced the social justice movement culture in Korea and were excited to have a glimpse at it.

Now that we’re back, we want to share the many things we learned. Show you the images of riot police spraying protesters with blue dye in order to identify and arrest them later. Talk about militarism and frame S. Korea as a nation under the thumb of American neoliberalism but also as a nation importing women into militarized prostitution. We want to explore the complex situation in S. Korea and tie it back to the work we’re doing locally. We hope that you’ll join us to learn more and to continue building strength in our alliances and work together.
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Host: Sahngnoksoo
Date: Saturday, November 22, 2008 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Place: 2100 24th Ave Seattle, WA
Email:
RSVP: http://www.new.facebook.com/event.php?eid=43466567441&ref=nf
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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

KOREAN CLASS SPECIAL SESSION! ENROLL NOW!

WINTER INTERIM SESSION : 12/01 – 12/22 [4 weeks only]
Mondays 6:30-8:30 pm
*In response to high interest by current beginner level students, Nodutdol will be having this special winter interim session. The fee for the interim session is $120 with possible discount for NDD members and low-income people. The class will be a continuation from the fall session therefore some basic knowledge of Korean language [Korean alphabet, basic greetings, numbers, etc.] is required to take the class.

TENTATIVE CLASS SCHEDULE 2009
1st session: 01/12 - 03/30 INTERMEDIATE & 01/13 - 03/17 BEGINNER II
2nd session: 04/13 - 06/22 INTERMEDIATE & 04/07 - 06/09 BEGINNER III
3rd session: 09/14 - 11/23 INTERMEDIATE & 09/15 - 11/17 BEGINNER I
*If you are interested, please plan ahead and let us know so that we can save a spot for you.
To enroll in our classes, please email us at
For more information, see korean class page under programs link. Please spread the word!

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