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저의 귀국입니다 | “My Return to Korea”Thu Jul 19 2022
Salt Lake City, July 2024 – Showing her debut gallery at TeaZaanati in Salt Lake City, Victoria Hills presents “저의 귀국입니다”, “My return to Korea”. 

        Gallery Open July 3 - August 31 at TeaZaanti 

        1944 S 1100 E, Salt Lake City, UT 84106

In October 2023, at 23 years old, I returned to Korea with my mother. I have been to my other home three times: at 3, at 7, and at twenty-three. I grew up in Bountiful, Utah with my artist father, Eric, and studious immigrant mother, Yang Seung Hee. I have spent the early part of my adulthood actively seeking to reconnect with my Korean heritage as a Korean American artist and scholar in Salt Lake City. These images are what I found when I went looking for myself in Korea, and what I learned about where I come from. South Korea is a beautiful country, with wonderful colors everywhere you look, and resourceful ways of solving everyday problems in every home. But where my family is from, they have seen a different kind of growth economically: a regression. In Bian Myeon, which is considered a “rural township in the North Gyeongsang Province”, you’ll find lovely grandmothers visiting and making naughty jokes, taking care of the local market, the restaurants and coffee shop. The stray cats try there best to get into their garbage but are met with swats. It’s a town that has grown old, and wise and connected and self-sufficient and beautiful. But still old, and there are empty seats in their schools and family has moved away closer to the cities. Modernity in Korea happened rapidly, leaving some behind in the process. While the urban centers are filled to the brim with people, services, and business, the rural communities rely on each other to tend to their farms and livestock, and to their aunts and caretakers for hour-long rides to their doctors appointments. Its a community of hope, trust, and love in the best form. They love it there in their small town, and I do too. 

They love it there in their small town, and I do too, especially my grandmother, Kim Joon-Ja. My grandmother is a badass. She tells it how it is, even when you didn‘t even know that you didn’t want to hear it. She’s a short firecracker, and full of laughter and emotion. She’s the sweetest grandmother and a snapping mother in the same sentence. She feeds me until I can’t eat anymore, and comforts me in a home made of love and years in the restaurant business.