When I was young, my parents owned a butcher shop. During that time, I saw a lot of butchered pigs. In Korea, when one opens a new business, buys a new car, or starts a big new endeavor, it is tradition to have a celebration with a pig's head in the center of the room while money is put into its mouth. The person then bows and prays for a good and comfortable life. There is also a belief that when one dreams of a pig, it is a precursor to material wealth. In Korean culture, people will buy lottery tickets and charms of pigs to compliment these beliefs and traditions.
As an adult now living in the United States, I have experienced and observed many new cultural things. I have discovered there is a completely different connotation associated with the pig. The pig can also symbolize greed. This new world is a place where money rules, the distinction between good and evil is blurred, love and happiness are small things, philosophy has no place, and only material beauty matters. I have observed people curse the rich for having monetary wealth but at the same time be envious. In today’s competitive society everyone appears to be running to win a race but not realizing you cannot win away your loneliness when the people you have ignored or mistreated in your pursuit are not there for you at the finish line.
My pig figures are symbolic of the different kinds of people I encounter in my own everyday race of a life. The bright colors and satiric images used on my terracotta clay and mixed media “Piggies” have been purposely used to create a whimsical urban vibe to my work but upon further inspection represent a deeper and sometimes critical commentary on today’s society with the end goal of connecting with the viewer to inspire thought, forgiveness, solace and hope.