This week I went back to the exhibition of a second viewing of the artwork, the purpose of my visit was not to find the meaning, cultural significance or stylistic choices of the work, instead it was to revisit the work in oder to gain further insights and extend my understanding of the artwork and myself.
This time work triggered something within me, the second viewing was more personal and emotional, as the first visit’s purpose was purely for observation and analysis of the artworks content.
It promoted feelings of homesickness, ‘a nostalgic longing for a home that symbolises the happiness that home could no longer provide’ (Alsop 2002, p. 6). Being born in South Africa and migrating to Australia, was a new experience and a dramatic shift in my concept of home. I had never considered what home was until now, instead of home being a physical place, like I previously thought, to me it became a memory, a space in time, a moment.
I became Afrikaans (South African) when I left my country to relocate to Australia, before then I wasn’t South African, I was just home.s
The second viewing created an interesting observation, regarding the significance of clothing not only to our identity but to upholding a memory of a loved ones. In Oh’s artworks clothing has symbolic value as it stands for ethnicity, gender, religion and emphasizes social belonging, for her these ethnic costumes are a motif of being a Zainichi. The ‘chima chogori’ that her grandmother left, a reminder of her presence, by wearing the piece of clothing whilst making new memories she entered what Bhabha terms as ‘re-iterated’. Meaning that this allowed her to address the complex in intersections of her own memories and the unknowable memories experience of her mother and grandmother.
This reminded me of my own relationship with grandfather (maternal), my mother has told me plenty of stories of my grandfather and how important he was in my life, unfortunately was too young, to remember anything. My memory of him completely created through the stories of him told to me over the years.
When I was little I use to sneak into my mothers room and put on one of my grandfathers sweaters, that she has, and sit and imagine what he would be like, I used to make up stories and adventures of us two, saving the world, taming lions and walking on the moon.