Adele 이슬 Kenworthy


Adele 이슬 Kenworthy



We Should Talk:
Cut Fruit/과일깍자!
performance, fruit, community organizing
coming summer 2024




We Should Talk:
Cut Fruit/과일깍자!
National Museum of Asian Art
Washington, D.C.

As part of We Should Talk, an art installation and programming series that explores the complexity of the Asian American identity and experience.

Cut Fruit is an expression of lived experience and site specific performance that re-remembers the gestures and rituals of care that examines the hypervisibility and invisibility of labor embodied in the AAPI woman in a post-pandemic existence.

In many Asian/Asian American cultures, fruit is shared as an act of love in abundance: often present at a child’s first birthday celebration in Korea called a doljanchi; given in oversized boxes as housewarming gifts; and placed at altars for even our ancestors to enjoy.

And in our transnational and intergenerational cultural memory, Cut Fruit asks what can spacializing love look like for generations to come? For me, it was my mother cutting fruit for us when I was a kid.

Instead of price per pound signs, Cut Fruit invites others to carry the questions asked between the peels and slices:

what is the first taste you can remember?
what is something you always wished someone had asked and knew about you?
what fruit carries your favorite memories?
who is allowed to gather?
Who is allowed rest?

You can learn more about this project at curiosityconnects.us/weshouldtalk

This project received Federal support from the Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.


to carry within us an orchard
performance, fruit, collage, community organizing
August 10 – August 20, 2022

to carry within us an orchard
E19: Artistic Interventions
Transformer Gallery
Washington, D.C.

to carry within us an orchard was developed during my time as part of Transformers 19th year of their Exercises for Emerging Artists program. 

what is the first taste you can remember?

to carry within us an orchard, a line from Li Young Lee’s From Blossoms, is a poem that celebrates community at every point of connection. As a first generation American with immigrant parents – in all the language and cultural divides that separated us – this exhibition explores the embodied gestures and rituals of care that fill the silences between us.  In this space of transnational cultural memory, as a femme presenting Asian American, Kenworthy brings cut fruit to Transformer as an intervention in this country’s landscape of care as a commodity.

The exhibition included the artist daily returning to the gallery to cut fruit for vistors; a cut fruit circle+community organizing workshop for AAPI femme artists based in the DC metro area; and a collage series that included photo submissions from the public, the artist’s family archive, and found historical images. 

You can learn more about the exhibition at transformerdc.org/e19

what is something you always wished I asked and knew about you?
performance, found and foraged flowers, photographs
2022

what is something you always wished I asked and knew about you?
NEXT 2022
Corcoran School of Art & Design 
Washington, D.C.

In the height of lockdown and grief during the pandemic, I stumbled across an obscure floral arrangement book written by a Korean florist in the 90s. 

In this book she states that the origin of this practice of floral arranging — which is widely attributed to Japan as ikebana — is appropriated from the Korean practice of kong yong hwa, placing flowers at the feet of Buddha.

This led me to have an interesting conversation with a researcher and scholar who justifiably asked if is this verifiable. and as I dove deeper into this question, another one emerged for me, what memories is this florist carrying that called her to say that in the first place?

Do I need to reconcile the memories I’ve inherited with the memories of the colonizer?

what is something you always wished i had asked and knew about you? is a question I’ve continued to ask my umma as we’ve both grown older, each decade emerging a new answer.

The family photos in this series was a gift from my appa after 18 years of estrangement. His silent act of hanging onto a memory of us. The photos were all taken by my umma and exist as evidence my body was present even in the absence of my own memories.

These cocoji floral sculptures and the last few remaining photos from my family archive are the artifacts in our intergenerational, transnational struggle to remember.


Let Ivy City Bloom
flowers, community organizing
2021
Let Ivy City Bloom
Ivy City 
Kendall St NE between Okie and Galludet Streets 
Washington, D.C. 

I partnered with the ANC Commissioner Sebrena Rhodes, community organizing nonprofit Empower DC, and floral design team Sweet Root Village to create a pop-up park in Ivy City as a peaceful protest to reclaim the Crummell School grounds and prototype for a flourishing public green space.

The pop-up park included over 3,000 flower stems and over 1,300 sq ft of sod within a neighborhood block party.

A few weeks after our community gathering, Mayor Bowser announced she would include $20 million in her budget to restore the Crummell School into a community center.

You can learn more about our ongoing collaborative relationship at floralscapes.org


Bongseonhwa: Flowerhands
performance, ritual, workshop
2021-ongoing

Flowerhands is a natural nail dye workshop based in the traditional practices of Korean women dyeing their nails using the petals and leaves of the rose balsam (impatiens balsamina) flower. 

This multi/intergenerational workshop is meant to cultivate a space that invites others to share their practices of self and community care with one another, rooted in my own memories of care embodied, delving into gestures of adornment as the place of collective liberation.

The origin of the bongseonhwa flowers and seeds are from the garden my mother and I tended during the height of the pandemic quarantine and grief. Participants were given a how-to riso print zine and seeds. The core of Flowerhands is for it to always be free for anyone willing to participate.


Connect with me + I will mail seeds to you.


©2024
Adele Yiseol Kenworthy