Adele 이슬 Kenworthy

Adele 이슬 Kenworthy

performance, found and foraged flowers, photographs

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.

Adele Yiseol Kenworthy