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My Daily Schedule- 2024 - Yeongyu Kang(1).jpg

YeonGyu Kang,  My Daily Schedule: 2024, Digital Illustration 

KCAI | AAPI Association Exhibition
Without Words – Joy From an Asian Perspective

March 1 - 30, 2024

The Opie Gallery

 

Featured Artists

Sarah Manuel  |  Kathy Nguyen  |  Jenny Le  |  Nicole Gilliford

Chaneryna Thach  |  Sophia (Gaeun) Lee   |  YeonGyu Kang  |  Katie Nisha Boyd

Without Words – Joy From an Asian Perspective 

The joy I know is not what you see on TV. It isn't loud or grandiose. The joy I know is oftentimes subtle and quiet, found in places you would never expect. A cluttered and chaotic home is where I found the most comfort. 

Being Asian American is a patchwork identity that everyone weaves into. Though we all come from different backgrounds, cultures, and households, we share a common language in our shared spaces. Rather than ripping apart into smaller pieces, we are able to come together to celebrate and share in a collective warmth. 

When our native tongue fails us, our actions never will. That warmth is felt throughout every meal. I think back to my days after school and being greeted by the sizzle of oil hitting the hot  pan as my mother prepares a meal for my sisters and I after a long day. How my mother reserved the meatest parts of the fish for us and claimed the head for herself because she knew it scared us, stating that’s all she needed. How we would devour hours of cooking in a matter of seconds. Always begging for more and our mother happily complying everytime.  

Our comfort doesn’t take the shape of words but rather small gestures and subtle movements. Words are rare within an Asian American household. However, that love and care is very much there. "I love you" are not the words that our families use to show they care. Sometimes they don't use words at all. Acts of service, done in a modest silence, in the effort to preserve the home and the family, mean more than three empty syllables. My father buying me three cases of mangoes when I told him they were my favorite. Or purchasing five gallons of orange juice when I wanted just one for a smoothie. I always knew he loved me in excess even if he could never say it. 

As I grow older, I have learned to adopt these habits from my family and care for others in that same way. In quiet gestures and ever present love in every interaction. Though I can voice the affection I feel, the tangible gestures still bring me comfort as I comfort others, loving them in the way I was taught. These actions inhabit every space. Amidst the chaos and clutter, it can be found in between the messy drawers of plastic bags and mix-n-match Tupperware. Or perhaps you can hear in between the yelling and laughter of your mother tongue in the other room, made louder in its joy than the fighting of the day, and maybe sweetened with the help of alcohol. Nevertheless I could never imagine replacing it. Our comfort doesn’t need the support of words. To you our homes are a claustrophobic mess, but to us, it was a place full of memories of survival, resilience, and most importantly our love for one another.

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