Diasporas in Modern and Contemporary Korean Art | by Cleveland Museum of Art | CMA Thinker | May, 2022
By Sooa McCormick, CMA Curator of Korean Art
This year, in honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Month, the museum recognizes the array of diversity within the myriad of AAPI identities and cultures. The recently opened Korean art rotation Creating Urgency: Modern and Contemporary Korean Art offers artworks surrounding a piece of Korean history, the diaspora, an experience shared by many others in the AAPI communities.
Triggered by a series of natural disasters, the massive Korean migration to Chinese and Russian border areas from the 1860s to 1910 is noted as the first generation of modern-period Korean diasporas. Another important group in the Korean diaspora is the zainichi, the permanent, ethnic Korean residents in Japan. Min Jin Lee’s 2017 bestseller Pachinko embedded the issue of systematic discrimination against zainichi as a major structural part of the story.
The zainichi diasporic