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Bojagi, Korean wrapping cloths, were used to wrap, cover, carry and store objects. Bojagi were used not only for daily life but also for special occasions and religious rituals. Many bojagi in the traditional society were made for practical reasons as well, with specific utilitarian purposes. The act of making bojagi also carries with it wishes for the well-being and happiness of its recipients. Labor of love and prayers as memory is infused into each bojagi. Jogakbo, or patchwork bojagi, embodies the philosophy of recycling, as they are made from remnants of leftover fabric. Thoughtfully arrayed shapes and colors in bojagi often portray contemporary and abstract compositions as well as Korean women’s creative sensibilities.
Youngmin Lee is a textile artist who uses bojagi tradition and techniques to create her work. Her interest in textiles led her to study clothing and textile in college and she received an MFA in Fashion Design in South Korea. After she moved to California in 1996, she actively works on preserving the bojagi tradition that embodies the philosophy of recycling and up-cycling, as the works are made from pieces of fabric leftover from other projects. Lee’s works have been exhibited and collected throughout the United States, South Korea, UK, Romania, and Turkey. Three of her bojagi are currently on view in the Korea galleries at the Asian Art Museum until September 2022.
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