The Imaginary Landscape – Grandmother Island – Chapter 1: MATSUO MEGUMI + Voice Gallery, Kyoto

Haji Oh

4 - 25 Mar 2017

The Imaginary Landscape installation is an extract from a larger project called Grand-Mother Island Project. Entitled Nautical Map, it consists of three pieces of textiles called Textile as Map ji (Jeju Island, Korea), Map t.i (Thursday Island, Queensland), and Mt.k (Mount Kiera, Wollongong).

Chapter 1 of the Grand-Mother Island Project is an imaginary and multi-sensory space that reveals the interconnectedness between untold stories. The ‘islands’ represent a metaphor for political relationships and created spaces for imagining personal histories beyond the nation. Oh created the cloth using a traditional Guatemalan technique that produces four-selvaged cloth by a process in which the warp thread is not cut, but forms a continuous loop on the backstrap weaving loom. The shape of the island emerges because the warp thread is dyed and bleached as part of the preparation for the weaving process. The spiral of the warp thread is then intersected by the weft thread, so symbolizing the continuity of memory and time.  Each layer of weft thread represents the past in the present. Oh’s woven cloths are an embodiment of space, time, and memory.


Grand-Mother Island Project traces the trajectories of people who have crossed the Pacific Ocean, such as between Australia, Japan, and Korea, focusing on how individual narratives are interwoven with history to create new communities.

Grandmother Island constitutes an imaginary space that inherits and generates untold stories beyond the nation. According to Benedict Anderson, the nation is an imagined political community, where imagining a shared history strengthens a sense of national belonging. This project imagines space between nations, spaces of movement that expand our horizons. Using the metaphor and universal experience of the grandmother, it brings to life stories of connected pasts that open us to others.