Paintings of the Tongue

Picturing Reality in North Korea through the Stories of Defectors


Princeton, NJ, 2020

Curated in conversation with Princeton University’s theater production of the play Sister Mok-rahn, this exhibition provides a brief introduction to the intricate histories and current states of North and South Korea, illustrates the limitations of linguistic translation, and features the voices of North Korea defectors. The exhibition seeks to offer a multi-sensory experience for viewers through mixed-media installations, and features photography by Princeton students. Curated, designed, and installed by Cameron Lee ’22 with associate curator Anoushka Mariwala ’21 and exhibition coordinator Jenny Kim ’20.

The central installation is composed of a medley of English and Korean sentence fragments excerpted from testimonies of North Korean defectors, laser-cut out of foam core. Each fragment was then hung from the ceiling by hand, using fishing line to give the impression of floating words, and emulate the disorienting experience of entering a new cultural and linguistic landscape.

Learn more about the play at arts.princeton.edu/sister-mok-rahn.