Ha Ja

The intricate and complex construction hidden within its bland, untitled cover unravels the life of my grandmother, Ha Ja, which encompasses experiences of pain, sadness, and happiness. The book functions almost as a blueprint of Ha Ja's life, allowing the audience to intimately interact with the subject throughout each page.

Through the sequencing and presentation of the photographs, I seek to reflect Ha Ja's past and present lives, revealing her side of her life story that she was never given the courage or agency to articulate with her own voice. The unconventional design of the book requires some tenacity from the viewer to flip through the entire book. However, this type of intimate engagement with the viewer allows them to examine and appreciate the subject, very similar to discovering and acknowledging Ha Ja as a person, not just her physical embodiment, but also a collection of stories conveyed - one of suppression, resilience, perseverance, commitment, and dedication she experienced growing up as the eldest daughter, a mother, and a wife.

This work acts as a visual language for me to not only celebrate my grandmother's life but also to share her narrative with the world. It is a personal message to her that I understand her, see her, and that I am no longer the only one willing to finally acknowledge and listen to her story.

Handmade Korean traditional Hanji paper box with lid constructed with chipboard.
Inkjet print on matte paper, folded and assembled with signature binding.
Accordian and flag book style pages, hand glued with image cutouts.

SCAD Library Atlanta Special Collections 2023