Name Story Debut at Have You Eaten ExhibitJanuary 1, 2023
Why I learned Hebrew in Middle SchoolMarch 24, 2023
"Sweet mournful ecstacy."
Portraits can be powerful tools to help reflect to us our feelings about ourselves from the past, the present or future. Annah, one of the My Name Story project participants got a first glimpse of her portrait at the Have You Eaten? exhibit at Slip Gallery.
When I asked her what emotions she saw in her portrait, she replied,
"I was having an emo moment recently. I wrote a poem that ended with the line sweet, mournful ecstacy and I feel like that's...yeah... There's a lot of thinking about me, my mom, a lot of innocence and trauma, how to incorporate that as an adult..."
One of the important aspects of Annah's Name Story is her relationship to her mother which, like many of us, is fraught with complicated emotions. While her mother was her "everything" and was always there to love and support her through incredibly challenging times, she also had a co-dependent relationship with her. After her mother's death, Annah was left trying to figure out who she was without her.
Annah's Name Story as featured in the exhibit is as follows:
"Each part of my name has a pretty significant gravity to it for a variety of different reasons. Annah Kim, or Kim Annah, that's my Korean birth name which implicates a lot of trauma, being abandoned, adopted, so on and so forth, all the race pieces kind of tied into that. We have Nelson which comes from my mother and it's crazy all the things that she's gone through and then Feeney, that comes from my dad. All these pieces create a kind of a hodgepodge of things and I absolutely love my name. I've always really liked it for a variety of reasons but it's shifted over the years. As I got older, I really wanted to reclaim more of the Korean parts of it, like the Kim Annah parts of it and incorporate that into my own kind of view of what is Americana. Because in my mind Americana is much more just of a really immigrant story and I feel like my name is strangely, a very strong immigrant story in a variety of different ways."
To listen to the audio version of Annah's name story and to see other name stories, click on the link below.