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Paradox of Diasporic Art from There: Antidote to Master Narrative of the Nation?

From: Journal of Korean Studies
Volume 17, Number 1, Spring 2012
pp. 153-199 | 10.1353/jks.2012.0003

Abstract

Abstract:

There was the title of one of four projects exhibited at the fifth Kwangju Biennale held in South Korea in 2002. The name alludes to five of the oldest and largest overseas Korean communities: those in Brazil, China, Japan, Kazakhstan, and the United States. There curator, Yong Soon Min, chose twenty-four visual artists to represent the five locations, and their artwork showcased Korea’s diasporic cultural production formulated by the historical migratory routes that have influenced the artists’ lives and their art. There indicates a paradox of diasporic art. While some diasporic artists uphold the ideas of Korean national culture and belonging bound by homogeneity and blood ties, other artists directly challenge the meaning such narratives hold in their artistic expressions. As such, the show discussed multiple identity formations that resist dominant narratives, reflected differing experiences of class, gender, global, and national politics and indicated how the nation-state system is increasingly challenged by globalization. Yet, there are also artists who reinforce monocultural conceptions of national culture and cultural identity for diasporic subjects. In other words, diasporic art both undermines the master narrative of the nation at the same time as it reinforces them.



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