Jin-me Yoon billboard project in Chinatown

October 2 - October 29, 2023

Check out this new billboard by Jin-me Yoon at 905 Somerset Street West in Chinatown!

CUAG invites you to visit a new billboard by Jin-me Yoon, Handle with care (don’t waste the pain). It is located at 905 Somerset Street West, in Chinatown, and is produced in conjunction with her current CUAG exhibition Dreaming Birds, Becoming Crane.

The billboard features a message written in English and Korean on a piece of packing tape and adhered to a soft-sided cooler bag by Jin-me Yoon’s now-deceased father, Myung Choong Yoon. He lived under the Japanese colonization of Korea and through the Korean War and military dictatorship before immigrating to Canada in 1966, to study pathology.

Written in his aged handwriting, the message expresses a need for care. The family used the cooler for transporting homemade kimchi back to Canada following visits to relatives in Korea. This traditional dish, made of fermented cabbage mixed with red hot pepper powder and other seasonings, dates back hundreds of years. It is one way to preserve vegetables year-round, and is a common side dish on Korean tables. For the Yoon family, kimchi evokes their homeland and is a vector of cultural traditions and knowledge transmission.

Yoon’s transformation of this unassuming message to a standalone, scaled-up public artwork within the Ottawa neighbourhood known as Chinatown, calls out to passersby as an open-ended statement.

Writ large, the word “FRAGILE” brings to mind multiple interpretations in our present context: the state of the planet’s ecosystems and our ability to adapt to the climate crisis with its extreme weather and fires; the security of people amidst or fleeing war and conflict; and increasing precarity as housing and living costs rise, to name some of the most urgent.

This public artwork is a gesture, reminding us on our daily journeys through the city, of the important work to be done to create change, and to build respectful relationships with and care for one another and other species to ensure a better future for all.

Curated by

Heather Anderson and Anne-Marie St Jean-Aubre

Artists in the exhibition

Jin-me Yoon