Friday, September 30, 2016

The Gift of Determination

The Gift of Determination

The day before I left to join the WFAM team on our trip to Seoul, one of my summer program classmates asked how it felt to be “going home” to South Korea. I’m of Korean heritage-- I look Korean and speak some of the language-- so I understand her misunderstanding. But I had to clarify that I had only been to Korea a couple times before and was born in the States, so I consider myself an American.

This got me thinking about identities, and the disparity can occur when the identities you choose for yourself are different than the identities the “other” imposes on you. This disparity is often caused by a simple misunderstanding, but can proliferate into larger issues if the expectations of an identity group become harmful stereotypes.

In Seoul, we experienced countless artistic spaces in the form of museums, palaces, and public parks. Art was even embedded into restaurants, skyscrapers, the airport, and train stations. My experience in Seoul, no matter how short it was, taught me to seek art in the most unlikely places.

Now that’s a piece of Seoul that I carry with me as part of my identity. Seoul isn’t simply a part of my identity because of my Korean ethnicity, but because I experienced a culture where art is so embedded in beautifying our environment. It’s fundamentally transformed how I view my world.

This also reinforced that as a professional in social enterprise, I need to allow people to voice their own identities, from my everyday interactions to the larger implications of my research.

The beauty of the World Folk Art Movement is helping others create paths to express their chosen identities through art. I’m so humbled to be part of such an amazing movement and I can’t wait to see countless identities come together through art. 

Grace Liu
World Folk Art Movement 

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