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MICA Faculty Member Mina Cheon '99 Delivers Unity Week Artist Keynote Address in Dedication to Flores McGarrell '97 '98

Unity Week Awards were presented to J. Aiden Simon '09 and professors Fletcher Mackey and Mina Cheon

Posted 01.20.10 by MICA Media Relations

MICA faculty member Mina Cheon '99

BALTIMORE--MICA faculty member Mina Cheon '99 , Ph.D., M.F.A. gave the Unity Week Artist Keynote Address, exploring complex issues of racism, in dedication to the recent passing of Flores McGarrell '97 '98 in the Haitian earthquake on Jan. 12. The speech took place on Jan. 20 in the Brown Center's Falvey Hall as part of Unity Week, which recognizes and celebrates the life and ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

During the address, Cheon shared some contemplations about various forms of oppression including racism, sexism, classicism, imperialism and cultural constructions of beauty.

Tying in the Haitian earthquake throughout the speech, she questioned why the country had been in such poverty before the disaster and how the recovery process will be remembered.

There is a "global epidemic" of racism, whether it is visible or more implicit, she said. An example is the racism that exists among Asian nations where westernization can be associated with beauty and modernization. "There is no such thing as race, but there is racism," she said.

Unity Week Awards were presented during this event, acknowledging a student and faculty/staff person whose work exemplifies the ideals of Dr. King. Fletcher Mackey, foundation and M.A. in Community Arts professor, was honored for his thoughtful student mentoring and work on the Faculty Cultural Expansion Committee. J. Aiden Simon '09 was recognized for his photography work surrounding transgender issues. Cheon also received a Unity Week Award.

Cheon '99 is a Korean-American new media artist, writer and educator who divides her time between Baltimore, New York and Seoul, Korea. She recently published her first book Shamanism + Cyberspace (2009, Atropos Press, NY and Dresden) and, as an artist, has shown internationally. From installation and performance to video and interactive media, her artwork deals with issues of media, space, borders and conflicts between nations, especially the triangular relationship between South Korea, North Korea and the United States. Recently her work, which she calls "Political Pop Art," has extended into the realm of looking at other national conflicts, including those between neighboring Asian nations, such as Korea, Japan and China, and the plethora of images of hatred and racism found in popular media and cultures of Asia. Cheon teaches at MICA in the foundation; interaction design & art; art history, theory & criticism; and language, literature & culture departments.

The third annual weeklong celebration of Unity Week, themed In This, I Believe, takes place through Jan. 22. The celebration was established in 2008 to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.--going beyond honoring the man and striving to honor his ideals through expanded programming that explores themes of social justice, equality, diversity and cultural representation. It is coordinated by the College's Office of Diversity and Intercultural Development and co-sponsored by the President's Committee on Diversity and Inclusion and the Faculty Cultural Expansion Committee.

Hear interviews with Cheon on WYPR-88.1 or WEAA-88.9.

Image caption: MICA faculty member Mina Cheon '99 , Ph.D., M.F.A. gave the Unity Week Artist Keynote Address on Jan. 20.

Founded in 1826, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is the oldest continuously degree-granting college of art and design in the nation. The College enrolls nearly 3,500 undergraduate, graduate and continuing studies students from 49 states and 52 countries in fine arts, design, electronic media, art education, liberal arts, and professional studies degree and non-credit programs. With art and design programs ranked in the top ten by U.S. News and World Report, MICA is pioneering interdisciplinary approaches to innovation, research, and community and social engagement. Alumni and programming reach around the globe, even as MICA remains a cultural cornerstone in the Baltimore/Washington region, hosting hundreds of exhibitions and events annually by students, faculty and other established artists.

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