Dong Kyu Kim

TransAmerica #5
handmade needlework with paper receipts on Swiffer
25 x 25 in.

I am one of the 65,000 professional workers who migrated to the United States in 2007, with a H1B visa, in hope to seek a better opportunity. Upon acquiring H1B visa, the authorized status is held for a maximum of six years, and it can only be issued in increments of up to three years. With a knowledge that an application for a green card was permitted during this time, I made attempts to acquire work permit/green card on four separate occasions since 2012 but was denied each time.

It was difficult to accept the possibility of going back to Korea upon denial of my 4th work permit attempt. At that time, I repeatedly questioned myself of why I was refusing to go back to my motherland and why I was seeking ways to stay here in the United States, with my family left behind. I wanted to find the answer to this uneasiness.

My artworks consist of receipts from past 10 years of life here in the US with weft and warp of endless hand stitching. Unless it is a special circumstance, sewing is widely considered as an area for women in both Western and Eastern culture. The main inspiration of my work, JoGakBo(Korean traditional patchwork wraping cloth), was also a household accessory created by women who had been restricted in their social activities in the strict confucian society of the Chosun Dynasty called ‘GyuBang(Boudoir) Crafts’ in Korea. So, my artworks retain hand stitching, which remain in the field of women, as a man. My physical body is in the Korean Community, yet my admiration is in the White American Culture, but in reality, I design clothes for African-American consumers.

© Dong Kyu Kim