The Politics and Aesthetics of the Wound: Performative Narratives of the People by Zainichi Korean Artists
(Vol.55. No.1 Spring, 2015 pp.86~111)
Eun-young JIN , Bo-seon SHIM
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This paper examines the artworks of the artists in the Asia, Politics, Art Project (APA
Project) from the perspective of “performative narrative of the people,” a notion suggested
by Homi Bhabha. The APA Project shows how the artworks of diasporic artists
inscribe otherness within the otherwise homogeneous space of the nation. The participant
artists, as the second and third generations of zainichi Korean, do not hold the
memory of traumatic events suffered by the first minority generation. However, their
works utilize postmemory based on dim images of memories inherited from their
family histories. The elements, such as a grandmother’s chimajeogori and the lyrics of
an old Korean song, are woven by Oh Haji into unique narratives that are distinct
from the “pedagogical narrative of the people,” emphasizing unity and continuity of the
nation-state. Kim uses chimajeogori in a multi-layered manner to reveal the existential
conditions of students bounded by a violence that has historical roots, but she does
not treat it as a simplistic oppositional sign against the dominant national ideology.
These minority writers/artists and their works are illustrative cases of performative narratives
that use and reconstruct images in the history and everyday life of a minority,
splitting the homogeneous space of the nation and suggesting new public and diasporic
spaces within it.
Keywords: Asia, Politics, Art Project, zainichi artists, Homi Bhabha, performative
narrative of the people, diasporas.
Types: Articles
Subject: Modern Poetry , The Arts
About the author(s) Eun-young JIN is Assistant Professor of Literary Counseling at Korea Counseling Graduate University. E-mail:

Bo-seon SHIM is Assistant Professor of Art and Cultural Management at Kyung Hee Cyber
University. E-mail: