Volume 9, Issue 1, Fall/Winter 2010
The Seattle Journal for Social Justice is honored to feature the original artwork of Yoona Lee. In the words of Ms. Lee:
I mainly work in abstraction as a painter, but I also use figurative illustration to provide social commentary where appropriate. Representational art has an ability to galvanize feelings in the viewer by focusing directly on identifiable subject matter. In this way, it can be more persuasive than abstraction’s oblique and frequently interior style of communication. To represent the role of civil legal aid in alleviating poverty, I superimposed an American flag against imagery of early twentieth- century tenement buildings—a nod to photographer Robert Frank and his incisive perspective on U.S. society. Just as shame and dignity are intermingled in his images, I wanted to express that type of ambiguity in the illustration. Rather than denigrating the flag, the drawing underscores the prevalence of poverty in America and ultimately the pressing need to reduce it through legal assistance.
About the Artist
Yoona Lee is a writer and visual artist living in Seattle. She received her bachelor's degree in English, with a minor in Fine Arts, at the University of Pennsylvania. Yoona paints and produces pen-and-ink illustrations while working as a copyeditor in the design and advertising industry. An avid Asian-American activist, she recently presented her writing and drawings at a 2010 University of Washington conference titled "Life in Marvelous Times: Cultural Work in the Racial Present."