This series of works is an attempt to spread empathy for the plight of others who have completely different lives, and to break-free from sexual or ideological suppression. Each individual human being has the right to be recognized as valid and possess autonomy over their own bodies.
Throughout my travels, I’ve seen many representations of phallic symbols and penises. There is such a wide variety of male genitalia on displays, everything from penis candles and candy, bottle openers… even penis aprons! This left me to wonder – where are all the representations of female genitalia? Is this symbolic of the gab in gender equality that still exists today?
During my time as a tattoo artist after coming back from Australia, I placed some art pieces of female genitalia in my work area to observe the clients’ reactions. They seemed reluctant or too shy to even say the word “vagina”, myself included. Why is this word so tabooed, and what makes it so offensive? Does a word ‘vagina’ have a place to be discussed in the world today?
Females frequently have more gracile bone structures and possess less musculature comparing to males. From outside appearances females may appear weak and vulnerable. The females experience of life, however, comes with a necessity of resilience and a tolerance for pain and mental strength. So our physical bodies are simply shells, they are not the sum total of what we are. Shells are only the outer visible layer; they hide all of what is within.
Considering shellfish, their outer layer is a necessity of protection and survival. Shellfish simply could not survive their environments without their shells. But the hard external layer of the shell, the protection is also created from within. The beauty of Nacre (Mother of pearl) produced by some shellfish is a form of protection against some parasites that would otherwise destroy the shellfish.
Ottchil(lacquering) is a traditional technique from South Korea that dates back over 1000 years. It is a discipline that requires patience, concentration, and endurance. The applying technique is time intensive and requires a careful awareness of detail. The process utilizes resin extracted from trees and has its roots in providing resilience to furniture. By applying the technique only used for 3 dimensional items as furniture to 2 dimensional drawings, it led to the birth of ‘Ottchill drawings’. It could only happen because the concentration on what is Ottchill, which is the paint. In the same sense, I hope that we all could just accept the part of natural body as it is and be free from conceptual jail.