Embarking on what would become her first solo exhibition in Los Angeles, Cory Feder was thinking about home: its meaning, our relationship to it, and its ever-changing nature. The artist, who is best known for her intricate illustrations revolving around Korean culture and folklore, aimed to explore migration as it pertains to our ancestors, and how for them, the idea of home was more fluid than static.
“When we describe home, it’s usually in this very static sense, where it’s more of a noun, but I think we should be describing more as a verb,” Feder explains to NYLON. To represent these thoughts, Feder chose to make butterflies and kites the main symbols of her exhibition, titled Walking Home on Wind. “They’re perfect symbols for the diaspora and kind of how we relate to identity right now,” she said. Her vibrant kites, complete with depictions of turtles, dragons, tigers, and other animals of lore, create a canopy over the gallery space as they delicately hang from the ceiling. Butterflies are embedded in numerous pieces, with one large, vertical work in particular showcasing a larger than life, majestic monarch butterfly.
Despite Feder’s history of “really bad experiences” with gallery spaces and institutions, she decided to take a chance on the Los Angeles-based community arts space Junior High, after being introduced to the space’s founder through a friend. Luckily, Junior High ended up being the right fit for Feder, as she found comfort in its welcoming atmosphere. “I was like, ‘Okay, I am willing to do a show with these people. Because they make me feel comfortable, and okay about what I'm doing,” she says. “They're not gonna do anything shady, or, you know, censor me.” Her sentiments align with the organization’s central beliefs: prioritizing platforms for “artists marginalized by cis-hetero patriarchy, capitalism, and white supremacy.”
To urge attendees of “Walking Home on Wind” to continue to reflect on the exhibition’s themes long after their departure, Feder created a zine meant to spark conversations already in motion. This supplementary piece includes questions that urge attendees to explore their identities outside of the constraints of time, and to consider how culture shapes us: “I'm just hoping that people can feel safe enough to, you know, not have to think about the exterior self at all times and feel okay thinking about who they are.”
NYLON spoke to several attendees of Walking Home on Wind to hear their reactions to the exhibition. See more, below.