All Photos © Cindy Hwang/CYJO. Above: Maggie Kim. Musician, Writer.
In modern, spare, and elegant portraiture, artist CYJO (Cindy Hwang) highlights the diversity, identity, and immigration of the global kyopo, those of Korean descent that reside outside of the Korean Peninsula (seven million strong). Through her singular lens, CYJO seeks to unify these people and challenges the idea of the stereotypical Korean émigré. Perhaps a shared ancestry is the only thing that connects these “fellow countrymen living abroad.” CYJO decontextualizes her subjects to emphasize a sense of forced unity, allowing their spectrum of experience to contradict an apparent sameness of identity. Juxtaposed are the graduate student, the novelist, the human rights activist, the architect. The photographs, coupled with words from the kyopo themselves, challenge the idea of a monolithic, “authentic” Korean identity while stimulating exploration and a renewed perception of what it means to be both Korean and a citizen of the world. CYJO’s forthcoming monograph, Kyopo, includes over 230 portraits and profiles and is published by Umbrage Editions. CYJO will be included in an exhibition at the Smithsonian Portrait Gallery entitled “Portraiture Now: Asian American Portraits of Encounter” that runs August 12, 2011 through October 14, 2012.
- courtesy Umbrage
Malco Kim. Art Director.
Kyung Hwa Lee. Senior VP, International Commodity Brokerage Company.
Grace Lyu-Volckhausen. Retired Government Officer & Professor.
Daniel Dae Hyun Kim. Actor.
Astrid Park. Fashion Extraordinaire.
Juju (Hyunju) Chang. Reporter.