Jennifer Jaesung Lee is a visual storyteller, and a first-generation Korean-Canadian emerging artist situated in Mokhinstsis, Treaty 7 territory. Her work is inspired by native Korean spirituality, folklore, and crafts. Using photography, textiles, and installations, she explores the histories of the queer Korean diaspora.
Playing on the ancient Chinese term for homosexuality, Jennifer’s Incubator project, “Precious Sleeves” is a reimagining of Queer Korean histories and traditions. The term arises from a folkloric tale, “The Passions of the Cut Sleeve.” In it, the Emperor Ai of Han cut away the sleeve of his robes rather than disturb his sleeping lover in his arms.
The “Precious Sleeves” project sees Jennifer embroidering 3 pieces of Korean wedding regalia with a queer-twist for queer pasts, presents, and future. For Jennifer, AAPI Empowerment matters more than ever in the face of rising anti-Asian violence.
cSPACE: What’s your imaginary autobiography called?
JL: “Whispers of the Mountain Crone.” Koreans draw immense spiritual power from the mountain god(s), “Sanshin.” Sanshin is sometimes a crone, sometimes an old man depending on the region.
cSPACE: We would definitely read that book and see the movie adaptation. It sounds like an amazing HBO show. What excites you about the Creative Incubator?
JL: Freedom to experiment, connect, and make art true to my vision. Program coordinators have been so welcoming and accommodating.
cSPACE: That’s super nice of you to say! At cSPACE we live by the 4C’s: Creativity, Community, Collaboration, and Change. Which of these resonates the most with you right now?
JL: Creativity. Whether the source of creativity is collective or individual, it is the root of problem solving through story-telling.
cSPACE: Where do you see yourself in five years?
JL: Graduate BFA with 3.8 BFA, enter Werklund school of education for teaching certification, more summer residencies, arts-related internships etc.
cSPACE: Those are very achievable goals. We think you can do even better! Dream big!
If you want to support Jennifer and follow her progress, she has some amazing examples of her embroidery on her Instagram page @Jae.leearts