Transracial Adoption from one black girl’s perspective

Archive for September, 2008

“Adoption: Palimpsest of Identity” Art Exhibit

From the facebook invitation to the event! This looks amazing – when ya’ll coming to SF?

“The Korean Cultural Service NY co-present the exhibition “Adoption: Palimpsest of Identity” with the AHL Foundation, Inc. from August 27th to September 24th, which features the works of six artists: Kate Hers, Jane Jin Kaisen, Mihee-Nathalie Lemoine, Jette Hye Jin Mortensen, Kim Su Theiler, and Maya Weimer. This exhibition is curated by Jeehey Kim. Exhibition goes through -Thursday, September 24, 2009 at 7:00pm
Through video installation and photomontage, the six artists deal with the identity of the adoptee, an identity that is barely discussed in identity politics. The artists demonstrate how the issue of adoption disrupts and disturbs the existing circuits of enunciation of one’s identity. As a palimpsest shows both the overwriting text and the overwritten one beneath at once, the works in this exhibition reveal how one dimension, one nation, one dream, and one world bumps into another. Positing identity as hybrid and fluid, their works transform and challenge the established and fixed order of things.

Collage works of kate hers interrogate the construction of ethnic and cultural narratives in landscape and analyze the mythological power of the Other while engaging tropes of appropriation, allegory, and conceptualism. She is not just interested in a crude depiction or reduction of anti-colonial anti-sexist viewpoints, but rather the questioning and engaging of the complex and layered meanings of appropriation, colonialism and gendered narratives in a global art context. In the re-inscribing of narrative through phantom landscapes, she desires a re-contextualization of meaning through its original form, however she is uncertain whether it is feasible to resist contributing to the spectacle of cultural colonialism. Is it possible to destabilize and disrupt something in which one is an active participant?

In her video work “disadoption”, Mihee-Nathalie Lemoin’s sings a song “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” with transforming its lyrics into the following: avouerai-je, dis papa/ ce qui cause mon tracas/ tu me dis que mon agence/ d’adoption point ne vous ment/ par la rumeur surprenante que tu dis preoccupante: de deux familles appartenantes/ par le bon sens tu me commandes/ L’annulation de l’adoption/ que cela est ta solution/ a vous disais-je papa/ omma-deul-appa-deul isseulka ? (to tell you, dad/ what is my worry/ you tell em my adoption/ agency is not lying/ by the surprising rumor/ of two families I belong/ by the common sense you order me/ to cancel the adoption/ it’s your solution/ to you, i was telling, daddy/ oma-deul (mothers) appa-deul (fathers) isseulkka (will be)?

Jette Hye Jin Mortensen often focuses on and debate adoption, family, nationalism, stereotypes, racism, and how we construct our identity from these structures through her videos and video-installation. In her video “My Great Grandfather,” she talks about the Danish composer Carl Nielsen as her great grandfather in a split screen with interview and archival footage. In this mockumentary she writes herself as the Danish person “of color” into the national history to mirror cultural complexity. It caused a lot of e-mails and letters with the questions: “Is Carl Nielsen your real, biological great grandfather? “Are you adopted into the Nielsen family?”

In Kim Su Theiler’s work “Hair Watch,” a Korean woman with a short haircut is seen in time lapse over many days. An off screen dialogue reveals that the woman’s hair length starts with the picture the adopted parents used to choose the child, and the end length of hair is the picture of the child taken for her passport so she could be transported to the United States to her new family. An off screen voice asks,” How long were you in the orphanage?” Subject answers,” For as long as it took for my hair to grow from the first picture to the passport picture.”

Maya Weimer’s groundbreaking video installation, “Untitled (K.H., S.H., H.S.),” gives voice to an important, but invisible, side of the adoption industry. Potential interviewees jeopardized their jobs and family statuses by coming forth to discuss their secret experiences and only with the promise of complete anonymity would a handful of women eventually agree to participate. The three women’s voices presented in this installation are in their mid-20s, -30s, and -40s. The formal constraints established in order to realize this project prevented the possibility of producing a traditional documentary. Rather than reinscribing onto these women narratives of victimization, the artist’s intention has been to highlight their resilience within a patriarchal Confucian culture.
Jane Jin Kaisen’s video work “Tracing Trades” chases and traces the history of human trade and trafficking between Korea and Europe, starting with the investigation of the history behind the mysterious “Korean Man” by Peter Paul Rubens. Shedding light upon Korean-European relations, and particularly international adoption, the quest leads to 19th century emigration of Scandinavians to North America, especially to the state of Minnesota. A department of Alien Affairs starts investigating how the first East Asians came to Scandinavia. In their search, Denmark’s prime tourist attraction, “Tivoli” keeps appearing in historical documents. Following these trades, they begin to look for traces that could help explain Scandinavia’s colonial history, repression, and worship of certain exotic elements.”


1st Annual AFAAD Gathering! Please share!

November 7-9, 2008

1st Annual Gathering for Adoptees and Foster Care Alums of African Descent:

Healing Ourselves, Making Connections

For Complete information Click here!

Announcing the 1st annual gathering of adoptees (transracial/international and same race) and foster care alums of African descent in Oakland, California, November 7-9, 2008.

AFAAD (Adopted and Fostered Adults of the African Diaspora) was formed specifically to support adopted and fostered people, to share our common and divergent experiences around race, adoption, joy, loss, family, search and reunion, and self identity and to celebrate our unique creativity, stories and community. AFAAD’s First Annual Gathering, Healing Ourselves, Making Connections is designed with you mind.

The purpose of this historic gathering will be to make connections, network, provide healing space, and to celebrate the diversity of our amazing diaspora of transracial, international, domestic adoptees and foster care alums. AFAAD uses “Black” in the widest diasporic sense, which includes African, African American, bi-racial and multi heritage, Afroasian and Afrolatino peoples. Healing Ourselves, Making Connections is the first of its kind for Black adoptees and foster adults and we know it will make a huge contribution to the conversations about adoption, race, social welfare and African diasporic identity – not to mention just bringing all of us together in one space is going to be amazing! It is time to share our stories with one another, rather than always teaching other people. We will also take some time for the strategic planning for the long-term goals of AFAAD as a social justice and community support organization.

Where:

AFAAD’s 2008 Gathering is being hosted by the lovely Washington Inn, at 495 10th Street, Oakland CA a luxury boutique hotel ideally situated at the center of downtown Oakland, CA, close to all forms of public transportation. See http://www.thewashingtoninn.com/ for more information, or call 510.452.1776. Individuals visiting the Bay Area must make their own hotel reservations separately from AFAAD Gathering registration.


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