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Tradition Transformed: Bojagi

  • Korean Cultural Center Washington, D.C. 2370 Massachusetts Avenue Northwest Washington, DC, 20008 United States (map)

Tradition Transformed: Bojagi

Textiles by Three Korean American Artists

Opening Reception: Friday, Jan. 11 at 6:00 PM

On View: Jan. 11 - Feb. 22, 2019

Korean Cultural Center Washington, D.C.

2370 Massachusetts Ave. NW Washington, D.C. 20008

Complimentary Wine & Refreshments

Join us for the opening of 2019's first exhibition, Tradition Transformed: Bojagi, featuring vibrant fiber works that capture the artistry and originality of the traditional Korean wrapping cloth, bojagi, by artists Kumjoo AhnJulia Kwon, and Wonju Seo

These three Korean American artists strive to convey deep social and emotional commentary through the integration of traditional techniques and innovative contemporary artistry in their work. By transforming an iconic traditional art and craft like bojagi in terms of both style and substance, Ahn, Kwon, and Seo tackle questions of women’s evolving role in society, the notion of feminine art, and experiences of both cultural shock and cultural harmony between East and West. As immigrants with deeply felt roots, they also endeavor to preserve the classical beauty and sensibilities of Korean traditional handicrafts, while staying faithful to their perspectives as modern women capable of transforming traditions. 

Bojagi (보자기), the traditional Korean wrapping cloth, is a centuries-old Korean folk tradition that utilizes patchwork textiles for both everyday use and ceremonial purposes. Bojagi are traditionally hand-made by women in the domestic realm to fulfill a practical need for wrapping items to carry, but also artistic expression. In this way, they bear some resemblance to traditional American quilts, although bojagi are usually of a lighter, at times gossamer texture suitable for simple knotting. Today, bojagi are a popular, ecological alternative to disposable papers and plastics, the reusable wrap itself representing a gift. The geometric patterns and vivid color composition of bojagi are also now recognized as exemplary works of modern design, leading to various creative integrations with contemporary Korean art.

Tradition Transformed: Bojagi also commemorates Korean American Day on January 13, designated by the U.S. Congress in 2005 as an annual recognition of the contributions to society and culture by Korean Americans over more than a century. 

Admission to the opening reception including talks by the artists on Friday, Jan. 11 at 6:00 p.m. is free and open to the public, but registration is required (below). Tradition Transformed: Bojagi remains on view during regular hours through February 22, 2019.


Earlier Event: January 10
K-Cinema Screening & Social: A Day
Later Event: January 16
J-Film: Her Sketchbook