Guava Rhee

What makes me sad is that in spite of how sweet you are to me, I always end up thinking more about that one time you refused to catch a seagull. You said to me, “I don’t like you that much.”

"What makes me sad [...]" is the first work of a year-long series on an interracial, queer, monogamous relationship the artist was in. Her autobiographical narrative captures subtle power dynamics that inevitably occurs due to the complexities of race, nationality, and socioeconomic privilege. However strong the infatuation is, it cannot be helped that the two lovers are two different individuals--they would never be able to understand each other fully.

Artist Statement

In the past years of intensive work, I have tried to figure out if living in the US as a queer Asian woman is any better than living in Korea as a queer woman. I once wrote that I would rather be displaced and be myself in a foreign country than to live with closeted dishonesty in my home country. I also wrote that disillusionment is the price to pay for honesty. Yet, as it turned out that there still is endless disillusionment to come, I am currently working in Korea to search for new ways to survive and to create. I aim to scrutinize the ever-changing present and endorse the failures inevitable in the process. Failed attempts are just as valuable as successful ones, especially now when accurate depiction of the reality is almost impossible.An artist renders one’s insight in the language of insight. My obligation is to disseminate how I survive the reality in this specific era, in the form of insight.


Guava Rhee (she/her, b. 1995) is a multi-disciplinary artist. She received a BFA from Cornell University and is an MFA candidate at the University of Pennsylvania. She fled from Philadelphia as the pandemic worsened, and is currently living and working in Seoul, South Korea.

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