(b. Seoul, South Korea 1998; lives in Corvallis, Oregon)
Julianna Souther is a senior undergraduate student at Oregon State University. She will complete her Bachelor of Fine Arts, with a major in Photography and a minor in Printmaking, Fall 2021.
Since her sophomore year at OSU, Souther’s practice has focused heavily on documenting herself and her community, as she comes to terms with her dual identity of International Adoptee and Asian American while living in the United States. Accepting and discovering herself, through this autobiographical ‘making’, has been a huge part of her creative process. Souther has also been awarded the Kelsi Rae Force Memorial scholarship at Oregon State for two consecutive years.
Outside of the classroom setting, Souther has been working with Cornerstone Associates’ Living Studios, beginning as a volunteer in December 2020, then having been hired in January 2021. Living Studios is a nonprofit art program, where neurodiverse artists are able to actively participate daily in art workshops hosted by instructors like Souther and manager Bruce Burris. Recently, in collaboration with one of Living Studios’ affiliated artists, Souther had a show at the Corvallis Book Bin Window Gallery, entitled “Under Observation”.
The recent onslaught of Anti-Asian hate crimes (3,800 this past year, according to NBC News) has disheartened many – within the Asian community, as well as in the general population. It is the cultural circumstances of these crimes – current as well as historical – which have inspired my current project, Asian Misidentification. This project aims to debunk how different Asian ethnicities are perceived and assigned to a particular discriminatory bubble. Although each individual’s story may differ in specifics, all are connected by a common thread: that most people still appear to believe the statement “all Asians look the same."
As a person of Asian descent who has often experienced misidentification, I felt strongly that the miscommunication which often arises from stereotyping is an important topic to explore. A project speaking to this dynamic might uncover the feelings of loss and hurt, the trauma, and the invisible scars, which can thereby be unwittingly inflicted. "Asian Misidentification" is a conversation which lays bare stereotyping as the dehumanizing act it is. This set of images are a ‘call to action’, inserting viewers into the realities of featured individuals, and allowing them to see on a deeper level, how harmful stereotypical assumptions are – to any minority group. "Asian Misidentification" is a set of eight diptychs, each one pairing a portrait of an individual with their written personal experience of being misrepresented. Such fundamental misunderstandings arise from damaging myths and beliefs which continue today. I hope my project will provide a better perspective from which to view recent attacks on Asians, and thereby inspire anti-racism.
Celebrating AAPI Artists
My accordion-style book "Celebrating AAPI Artists" celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, and artists whose art practices and artworks I personally find amazing. The first page is formatted like an index, or a table of contents section. The pages that follow reflect these artists’ work – pieces which, because they are famous, or because I had found them interesting, I decided to recreate in a double-sided, ‘museum’ booklet. This was one of the first times when I was inspired to actively persuade myself to take up painting.