Trustman Art Gallery re-opens with “WATER MEMORY”


“Reading Between the Lines” by Soyoung L Kim. Photo by Livvy Ray.

Olivia Ray, Arts & Entertainment Editor

Soyoung L Kim presented “WATER MEMORY: Artist Talk” on September 16 at Simmons University Trustman Art Gallery. The event marked the first exhibition at the gallery since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Kim first finished her art installation in mid-March 2020, just before the university closed due to rising pandemic concerns. 

“This feels like real vindication,” said gallery director Helen Popinchalk, to those gathered at the gallery opening. 

Kim went through her repertoire of artwork with her audience, focusing on the impact that her birth in Seoul, South Korea, and childhood in Nairobi, Kenya had on her sense of self. 

“Moulting,” a series of pieces Kim has on display in her installation, reflect her “fragile connection to [her] homeland.” 

“In order to survive, I had to create a land where I belong,” said Kim. “[I] cobbled together a past for myself.”

The “Moulting” series, which was started in April 2021, is meant to blur the line between art mediums, or between versions of self-identity. 

Toni Morrison’s “The Side of Memory” also served as inspiration for the artwork, according to Kim. In her essay, Morrison expresses the idea that the human body and planet Earth are intimately connected.

While our bodies have been suffering throughout the pandemic, our planet has been suffering as well, according to Kim. Her use of color in “Reading Between the Lines” represents this suffering. 

The aqua in the middle of the painting is the same shade as the water at Glacier National Park.

Kim expressed concern that these glaciers will disappear in the next few years. “It felt important to remember this color for that very reason,” she said. 

This particular piece is one of many created during the pandemic. To Kim, the Trustman Art Gallery is the perfect place to display her work.

“I’m particularly thrilled because Simmons University is an academic institution for women, and many of my works tell the stories of women,” Kim said. 

“WATER MEMORY” will be on display in the Trustman Art Gallery until October 15.