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Institute for the Humanities pres.

HH(C)*/An American Interior

Valery Jung Estabrook

Hometown Hero (Chink) Hometown Hero (Chink)
Hometown Hero (Chink)
Hometown Hero (Chink): An American Interior, by Valery Jung Estabrook, re-creates a life-size living room sewn by hand, suggestive of the artist’s history growing up in rural southwestern Virginia.The installation includes a custom upholstered recliner embellished with a Confederate Flag motif, and a plush TV emanating country music karaoke sung by the artist.The exhibition challenges the notions of heritage, Southern nationalism and “traditional” American culture, providing a window into the tensions of being a perpetual foreigner in one’s own hometown.

Reflecting on her exhibition title, Estabrook states, “The second part of the title, “Chink,” is a word that is fundamentally linked to my lifelong experience as an Asian American. Yes, it’s offensive—an incredibly painful slur. But that same pain is something that I, unfortunately, think of when I think of home. I include it because I must in order to have an honest discussion about the America that I know.”

Valery Jung Estabrook was born in Plantation, Florida, and grew up on an organic pear farm in rural southwestern Virginia. She holds an MFA in drawing and painting from Brooklyn College and a BA in visual art from Brown University. Her work has been exhibited in major cities both domestically and internationally, including New York, Los Angeles, Lagos, Bilbao, and Melbourne. In 2018 she received the Gold AHL-T&W Foundation Contemporary Visual Art Award, an annual award recognizing artists of Korean heritage in the United States. She currently resides in Albuquerque and teaches experimental art at the University of New Mexico.
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