Nicole Kang

We Have Each Other


Atlanta, GA

As a Korean-American, my identity has always been split between two worlds. In America, I have been treated as a foreigner based on my appearance. America is just as much as my homeland as it is for my white or black friend. Time and time again, why I been made to feel as though I’m a stranger? I have not known any other homes. 

It never seemed as though it was my right to call American land mine. Instead, I learned to root my identity in people. My family and friends were my mine. My story sounds familiar to many – my parents and grandparents immigrated to America because they believed it to be the land of opportunities. The harsh reality was that they were displaced, disrespected, and marginalized. And without realization, I began to resent my Asian-ness. 

Things took a turn when my mother was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. She bravely battled the disease for five years and our family was paralyzed with grief when she passed. “We have each other” is a love letter to my family, particularly to my younger sisters, through the unbearable suffering. Navigating the years after my mother’s death felt like walking through darkness but I always held onto the hope of a better tomorrow. “I’ll reap what you sow” pays homage to her life and paints the dream of a prosperous future for my family. As I grow older, I am freeing myself of the shame of being Asian. I am reclaiming my heritage and my identity, not just for my sake but for my daughter’s. 

I reference my favorite photographs of my mother as a young bride often in my works, where she dons her rich and colorful hanbok. My heart wells with pride for our Korean heritage and her beauty – and that is the memory I choose to remember her by. 

Photograph by Connie Huang & Jonathan Fan
Photograph by Connie Huang & Jonathan Fan
Photograph by Connie Huang & Jonathan Fan


Orange Barrel Media

Artwork Caption 
This is some text inside of a div block.