top of page

Bitter Seas

Anthony Cheung
6 min

"Bitter Seas” is a short homage to Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, the South Korean-born and San Francisco-raised artist and writer whose work explored themes of cultural memory, trauma, and erasure, and whose murder in 1982 at the age of 31 cut short a voice that was just starting to gain exposure. The title is in reference to her 1976 piece in which an American flag is stamped with the word “Amer,” playing on the multiple meanings of the word: in French, it translates to “bitter,” and “à mer” as “to the sea.” These multi-lingual references and cultural conflations and confusions show up frequently themes in Cha’s work, especially in Dictée, published just before her death. Family history intersects with political events and becomes infused with mythical and historical figures from the distant past, influenced by film techniques of fragmentation like montage and single frames. These thematic and technical approaches, as well as the layers of cultural and political meaning that become nested within the immigrant’s loss of voice and identity, form the impetus for this work.

A Seat At The Piano welcomes you to pull up a bench and join our generous family of supporters! If ASAP has helped you, please consider donating to help us keep growing. Click here to donate.

bottom of page