The politics and aesthetics of the wound: Performative narratives of the people by Zainichi Korean artists

Eun Young Jin, Bo Seon Shim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This paper examines the artworks of the artists in the Asia, Politics, Art Project (APA Project) from the perspective of "performative narrative of the people," a notion suggested by Homi Bhabha. The APA Project shows how the artworks of diasporic artists inscribe otherness within the otherwise homogeneous space of the nation. The participant artists, as the second and third generations of zainichi Korean, do not hold the memory of traumatic events suffered by the first minority generation. However, their works utilize postmemory based on dim images of memories inherited from their family histories. The elements, such as a grandmother's chimajeogori and the lyrics of an old Korean song, are woven by Oh Haji into unique narratives that are distinct from the "pedagogical narrative of the people," emphasizing unity and continuity of the nation-state. Kim uses chimajeogori in a multi-layered manner to reveal the existential conditions of students bounded by a violence that has historical roots, but she does not treat it as a simplistic oppositional sign against the dominant national ideology. These minority writers/artists and their works are illustrative cases of performative narratives that use and reconstruct images in the history and everyday life of a minority, splitting the homogeneous space of the nation and suggesting new public and diasporic spaces within it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-111
Number of pages26
JournalKorea Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Mar 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Korean National Commission for UNESCO, 2015.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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