America is a nation brimming with cultural collisions, collaborations, and coexistences. Artist CYJO, who immigrated from Korea to the United States at the age of two, explores this rich terrain in photographs that oblige viewers to look beyond stereotypes—their own and those of others. Her project, KYOPO, features portraits of individuals of Korean descent who reside outside the Peninsula. While standardized in format, each subject uniquely challenges notions of an “authentic” Korean culture.
Join the artist for a lively discussion about identity and the need to identify.
Born in Seoul, raised in the United States, and now based principally in Beijing, CYJO (born 1974) is a self-described Kyopo—the Korean term for ethnic Koreans living in other countries. Just one-and-a-half years old when she immigrated with her family to the United States in 1976, CYJO grew up in suburban Maryland and later studied at the University of Maryland and the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York. She continued her education in Italy at the Instituto Politecnico Internazionale della Moda before returning to the States to complete her degree in fashion design at FIT.
After working initially as a stylist, CYJO moved behind the camera in 2002 to launch her career as a fine-art photographer. Since that time, her subjects have included a wide range of individuals—from performing artists to politicians—and her photographs have been featured in numerous publications both in the United States and abroad.