untitled (I always return to you)
by Jeannie Kyungjin Kim
mixed media/digital collage (Korean watercolours on washi paper, pen on paper)
When our exposure to nature became limited as a result of COVID-19, most of us became even more appreciative of what Mother Earth has to offer. Whenever I contemplate water, I find myself returning to nature, which in turn has me reflective of how necessary water is in our everyday lives. A part of my daily routine involves the main source of nature within my one-room apartment: green onions/scallions, 파 (pa). Scallions are an essential ingredient in most East Asian dishes, and the food from my Korean immigrant household is no exception. These days in particular, they are not only a source of comfort that reminds me of my mother's cooking, but also a source of strength when I simply watch how fast they grow day by day.
Scallions are incredibly resilient. They can thrive with only water and sunlight, gently reminding me to take care of myself during these turbulent times with the nourishment necessary for self-growth. While observing and drawing the patterns on the surface of the scallions and then the wrinkles on my hands, I thought, how different are we from plants, really? As I refill their water and wash their roots every morning, I have inevitably developed a motherly attachment to the scallions. I wondered if this is comparable even in the slightest to what my mother felt as she raised me. At the very core of it all, I can say for certain that the natural instinct to nurture is present in both my mother and I.
Currently based in Tiohtià:ke/Montreal, Jeannie Kyungjin Kim is an intercultural arts educator and artist with a BA (Hons) from the University of Toronto-Mississauga and an AD from Sheridan College specializing in design, painting and drawing. Currently, Jeannie's research-creation project for her MA Art Education focuses on conceptualizing the process of Korean watercolours as an approach to heuristic thinking. Website: jeanniekk.com, IG: @jeannie.kk