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"Touring Home From Away: Jin-Me Yoon"
2002-01-05 until 2002-02-10
Presentation House Gallery
North Vancouver, BC,
For more than a decade Jin-me Yoon's work has explored the mechanisms and functions of identity construction. Continuing this research during a 1998 residency at Confederation Centre Art Gallery and Museum in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Yoon produced Touring Home From Away, a project that further explores the cultural functions of landscape, and representations of place as they pertain to the body and subjectivity.
In PEI, visitors are identified as from away, even though tourism is now the mainstay of the province's economy. Tourists are drawn to PEI by images of its selectively reinvented landscape, history, and social conditions. As is the case at most tourist destinations, this imaginary situation invites visitors but then precludes their belonging or fitting in. Re-working PEIís imaginary presentation of itself, Yoon explores the ways in which the myths of the Island are manifested.
The exhibition Jin-me Yoon: Touring Home From Away presents three works generated from this image series: two wall-mounted works, and an installation comprised of eighteen images mounted in nine suspended double-sided lightboxes. In the latter work the first image pair involves two figures sited within a typically bucolic PEI landscape. Unidentifiable in the frontal image, these figures face the landscape, drawing our attention to its pastoral beauty. In the verso image their identities become apparent. We recognize an Asian woman and a Native man. John Joe Sark is a PEI resident, a Native activist, and the Keptin of the local Mi'kmaq Grand Council. Reading across this image pair we learn that the location is a golf course.
People familiar with recent Native land claims in Canada will be reminded of situations in which golf courses located on sacred ground have been the focus of Native insurrection. Further conjunctions and disjunctions unfold within the work's subsequent image pairs. And several entwined narrative strands emerge involving arrays of related cultural constructs -- heroism, homeland, nationhood, family, gender and sexuality. Yoon's images point to the role of such narratives, and to their implications for intimate and publicly invigilated social relationships. Along with John Joe Sark, the artist and members of her family, the project also features Shauna McCabe who is currently Curator of Contemporary Art at Confederation Centre Art Gallery & Museum. McCabe appears as a stand-in for the fictional character Anne of Green Gables, an internationally promoted national icon that is among PEI's most ubiquitously exploited promotional devices.