Spirit Dreams: Where Ancestors Come to Speak (Sept. 21, 2023–Jan. 21, 2024)
Korean American artist Julia Chon (aka @kimchi.juice) made an interesting discovery about her family. Her great-aunt — her grandfather's sister — practiced shamanism. "She wasn't a mudang — the actual shaman — but she would consult them," Ms. Chon said. "She held that belief system."
In Korea, shamanism has existed long before Buddhism and Christianity. The shaman, or mudang, acts as a bridge between the spirit and earthly worlds. Often deceased ancestors, the spirits are equally likely to bring mishap as they are good fortune. A mudang is brought in to determine who the spirit is and to calm it. Through a ceremony called kut, they try to create peace and balance between the spirit and the affected.
Through her portraits, Ms. Chon strives to do the same. Of a stunning piece of a figure surrounded frightening-looking creatures, she writes:
SPIRIT DREAMS explored the interweaving of ancestry and diaspora, the past and the present, traditions and contemporary life. In the way that the mudang acts as a bridge between the spiritual and mundane so Ms. Chon's work connects generations across space and time.