March 11, 2013
Student Experience Spotlight: Mindy Kim
: Photo by Jenisa Ubben.
Cornish students come from a variety of cultural backgrounds, some have international ties. Mindy Kim, a senior in Art, shares how her art and Korean culture coexist.
By Jenisa Ubben, reprinted from Diversity at Cornish
“I’m a second generation Korean living in America. My parents were born and raised in Korea, then moved to America while they were still in their early 20s. The fact that my mother still primarily speaks Korean to me and because the community I’m surrounded by outside of school is mostly Korean, I don’t feel fully American or Korean. I’m sort of in the middle. My life reflects a mostly American lifestyle but I have a lot of Korean cultural influences on me growing up. I’ve also done a lot of traveling to the Middle East and at one point have lived in Uzbekistan. I’ve encountered a lot of cultures that have been slowly shaping my identity as a person.
“Being able to be a part of a culture that survives and thrives beneath the “American (people outside of America view the USA as being primarily Anglo-Americans)” culture, I’ve been able to incorporate this sort of view-point into my pieces. I tend to show a lot of themes that relate to being an “outsider” looking in. This ranges from generational differences, sexual differences, and cultural ones (this one particularly relating to my travels and the experience I’ve obtained from that). Actually, for my BFA, I’m doing a piece on my current place as a woman and where I am in terms of my sexual experiences. […] I have a lot of work that clashes with today’s perspective. I grew up in a community that tells me to keep my body sacred until the day of marriage. I just see it as one more thing that makes me more of who I am as an artist.
“Originally I was not going to go to Cornish or any art school. I think literally Cornish chose me.[…] I think Cornish has a very real possibility to further develop the artists here on an international level. There are internship programs to go abroad. A lot of the international connections that I’ve made are because of personal trips. After I graduate, I want to start my art career outside of America. So I definitely see myself practicing art in other countries!
“I think more than anything, I’ve learned to let what makes me different, define me, rather than degrade me. I think it’s so easy to disregard the things that people don’t understand in you. Sometimes because I’m so different than the rest of my peers, I wonder if I am a real artist or not. It’s a long process to understand your identity as an artist and what kind of artist you choose to put yourself out there as.”
Jenisa Ubben is a senior in art at Cornish, works as administrative assistant to the provost and is the author of the college’s blog Diversity at Cornish.
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