Jiha Moon, “Yellowave (Blue)” (2021), ink and acrylic on Hanji mounted on canvas, 20 x 20 inches
I first met Jiha Moon in 2000, when she was in the MFA program at the University of Iowa. Later, I learned that she was born in Daegu, South Korea, in 1973, and came to the United States in the late 1990s, after earning her BFA and MFA in Korea. At that point, she was working largely in painting and printmaking. In 2012, she was awarded a grant from the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, which she used to sign up at a local clay studio in Atlanta, where she has lived for many years.
The reason I mention these facts about Moon’s life is that in her current exhibition of paintings and ceramics, Jiha Moon: Stranger Yellow at Derek Eller Gallery (January 6 – February 5, 2022), she joins together images and symbols from the different cultures where she has lived, from her upbringing in a city known for its textiles (Daegu) to her many years as a resident of the only city to be set on fire during the Civil War, the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights movement, and the city where a man, targeting Asian women, shot six to death during another wave of anti-Asian hate crimes in 2021.