“My work often deals with people’s common misunderstanding of racial misconception and cultural appropriation,” says artist Jiha Moon. Her multimedia compositions encompass iconography referencing popular culture in contrast to age-old tradition. Evoking her own Korean ancestry through the use of materials like Hanji paper, Moon launches into a deeper exploration to identify connections among world cultures.
Peaches. Angry Birds. Fortune cookies. Emojis. This recurring, brightly colored imagery can be found throughout Moon’s artistic lexicon. This distinct blending of Eastern and Western symbologies creates a unique, visual language recognizable to an international community of digital consumers. “Peaches in Asian manuscript painting, in Korean paintings, [means] that it chases the bad spirits away. People also put peaches on the masks on doors so bad spirits cannot come in. So the peach has a spiritual aspect. The peach, here, is a Southern symbol – the Georgia Peach. I love that irony, that it’s my hometown’s sign and at the same time chasing away spirits in Asian culture (not just in Korea but in Japan and China as well). It’s something novel, something historical, something kind of cheesy and something kind of ironic. And some people look at my peaches as a body part. So I collect the iconography from different cultures and use it in a different way.”