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Pushing Against the Boundaries of Koreanness

"As part of an introspective look at her life as a Korean-Canadian, photographer Hannah Yoon takes portraits of other Koreans who challenge the hyphen that so often defines them."

"'Since I grew up in a small city with 90 percent of the population being white, I found myself wanting to blend in,' Yoon says. 'Naturally, I ended up being the token Asian in a lot of my social groups and I enjoyed the attention. I didn't realize I was being tokenized and was just happy to be acknowledged.'"

"In her community, Yoon was introduced as the 'little Asian friend,' with her skin, eyes and jet-black hair serving as perpetual reminders of who she was. 'No matter how much I tried to blend in, I realized I wouldn't,' the photographer says."

"While sharing her experience, Yoon introduces the South Korean concept of Han and how it fits into her life and work. 'It translates to a collective sorrow, angst and pain. Han simultaneously expresses a longing for an end to silent suffering and a sense of hope and humble perseverance. In many ways, Han captures the spirit of postwar South Korea and its people, including those who grew up outside the country.'"


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