Born in 1974 and based in Miami, CYJO (pronounced see-joe) is an American visual artist that works mainly in the photographic medium but also with text and video. She is most known for KYOPO (2004-2009), a photographic and textual project about American immigration and identity through the lens of the Korean ancestry. Over 200 people explore their relationships with their ancestral culture and the other cultures they embody through citizenship or life experiences.
CYJO’s work explores societal and environmental shifts by examining identity through portraits of people, culture and place. Her portraits which speak to varied realities elucidates how identity is not fixed but constantly evolving. She analyzes how history and our choices affect social and environmental growth or deterioration, expanding perspective and our understanding of difference.
“Living in the DC Metro Area, NYC, Beijing, and now Miami, I’m routinely confronted with assumptions on a range of identity related topics (race, citizenship, gender expectations, culture, etc.). In response, these experiences have expanded my perspectives and the conversations in my work.” In CYJO’s figurative portraits with text, she questions this notion of categorization further examining our human constructs. Her abstract portraits illustrate elements of the environment that human activity shapes. By examining different cultural nuances and sometimes contradicting perspectives within her body of work, she recognizes plurality and confining cultural frameworks within society. CYJO continuously explores how life experience, tradition and modernity shape identity