Happy Birthday (2023)

In South Korea, there is a national tradition to eat seaweed soup on the morning of your birthday. Traditionally the soup symbolizes and honors Samsin Halmoni, a goddess who helps women through pregnancy and childbirth. Essentially, people consuming the soup on their birthdays are honoring their mothers for giving birth to them as well as for their own luck and prosperity for future children.  In my piece, my drawings challenge this conventional narrative, urging viewers to reconsider the complexities of maternal sacrifice. Instead of me, the child, eating the seaweed soup, the drawing depicts my mother submerged in tangled seaweed. She willingly drowns in and emerges from it as she is weighed down by the heavy weight of the water, representing the consumption of her own well-being. Only on the morning of my birthday, my working mother would spend time cooking the seaweed soup for me in attempts to express her love.

Graphite and charocal on paper, additional sound element