Rose balsam (impatiens balsamina) also known as bongseonhwa is a flower that grows wild in Korea. A beloved collective childhood memory shared by Korean women is the traditional practice of dyeing their nails using its petals and stems. I never tire of listening to my mother reminisce about the times as a child, when she would pick the wild bongseonhwa with her friends, crush up the petals with rocks, and balance the paste on their fingertips together.
Bongseonhwa Flowerhands is a natural nail dye workshop based in this traditional practice shared by generations of Korean women. The heart of the skill-share workshop is for participants to collectively reimagine what it means to continue queering relational spaces in self-care, and elevating self-care practice as a form of community care while amplifying the BIPOC trans and gender nonconforming communities. Through the workshop I long to transform a beloved cultural custom into a fluid space where the multiplicities of our identities and desires are acknowledged and celebrated.
Lines of inquiry investigated in the workshop include:
How can the intentionality of the language we use be an active form of community care?
How do we reimagine self care spaces to be more gender inclusive?
What are the visible+invisible barriers in accessing self care spaces?
How do we use flowers to communicate?
How have flowers been used as a form of defiance and joy in social movements?
How can we create this micro botanical intervention of a femme space to become a more gender fluid space?
How do we navigate the intersection of (anti-asian) racism and sexism amidst the recent violence of self care spaces?
Timeline: Late summer 2021