Reflections on Younwoo Chaa's Reed Woven Portraits
Having lived with the Tukano Indians of the Amazon forest for over half a year, Youn Woo Chaa learned the craft of weaving.
Through direct participation of an essential skill of everyday life and survival of the Baniwa, Chaa has mastered the common patterns and techniques that thread a network of over 400 tribes of the Amazon, despite their disparate languages and cultures. From harvesting of the Aruma (plant which produces the weaving reed) to the finishing touches with the cipo (a piece of wood to tie a work into place), Chaa has engaged himself in the gamut of the craft of the Baniwa. By incorporating these acquired skills of the craft into the Western art of the portrait, we revisit the modern portrait through the renewed perspective of the primitive weave.
Chaa has chosen the portrait because it represents a natural evolution for the native weaving work. The rendering of the human face, unlike religious symbols or abstract geometric shapes, translates artistic mastery across both Western and indigenous cultures purely and clearly. "There isn't a personal or preconceived cultural sense of 'this is art' that needs to taught or imposed to indigenous cultures of the Amazon. The Amazon Indios will immediately see and understand that their art can achieve new standards of excellence within their own cultural context," says Chaa. Without a bridge of clear acceptance of excellence between both our Western an indigenous cultures, indigenous artwork will mot likely remain craftwork in the modern Western world and caught within the prejudices of economic valuations of labor.
In the Western art world, no one has yet accomplished the Reed-Woven Portrait to the size, scale and quality of rendering. Chaa has invented a process of translating non-patterned graphic plots into the reed weave.
Chaa hopes that the increased acceptance of his work will instill new pride in indigenous cultural values, an element necessary for the proliferation of self-expression and of the Third World.
1995-1998 Santa Monica College / Drawing, U.C.L.A. / Drawing, L.A.C.C. / Printmaking and Painting
1991-1993 Chugye School of Arts / B.F.A., Seoul, Korea
1978-1981 Seoul Music & Arts High School, Seoul, Korea
Selected Individual Exhibitions
2015 "Chaa youn woo" GOOGLE GALLERY, Venice Beach HQ, Binoculars building, Los Angeles, U.S.A
2014 "Phenomena" Centro Estatal de Las Artes, CEART , Tecate, Mexico.
2014 "Phenomena" Instituto de Cultura de Baja California, Galleria Principal del I.C.B.C, Tijuana,Baja California, Mexico.
2013 "Dream weaver" El Cuarto Del Luz Galleria, Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico.
2012 "la mano de la paz" Casa de la cultura coyoacan. Mexico D.F
2012 "Tejiendo mundo" Universidad Tecnologia de Tijuana, T.J Mexico.
2011 "Chaa Youn Woo" Assi Gallery, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A
2010 “Chaa Youn Woo” Roark Gallery, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A
2009 “Intuitional Window” Road to the Museum Gallery, Seoul, Korea
2009 “Chaa Youn Woo” Julie Rico Gallery, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A
2008 “Chaa Youn Woo” Blue wave Gallery, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A
2008 “Chaa Youn Woo” Tamal Arte Gallery, Tijuana, Mexico
2008 “Chaa Youn Woo” Boad gallery” Seoul, Korea.
2008 “Vipasana” Agitpunkt Gallery, Seoul, Korea.
2007 “Chaa Youn Woo” OROOM Gallery Seoul, Korea
2007 "Chaa youn woo" Roark, Los Angeles, USA
2007 "Chaa Youn Woo" Café Latitude, Tijuana, Mexico
2007 "Primitive Soul " Opus Gallery, Torrance, California, U.S.A
2007 "Youn Woo Chaa" L.A. Art Core, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
2006 "James Brown, Friends and Flowers", Red Dot Gallery, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A
2005 "Youn Woo Chaa", Iona's Gallery, Savannah, Georgia, U.S.A
2004 "Youn Woo Chaa",Roark, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
2004 " Youn Woo Chaa" Don O'Melveny Gallery, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
2003 "Youn Woo Chaa", Bistro Venezia, Venice, California, U.S.A.
2002 "Guapa", Aroma Wilshire Center, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
1999 "Youn Woo Chaa", Andrew Shire Gallery, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
1998 "The Exhibition by Youn Woo Chaa", "M" Gallery, Seoul, Korea
1996 "From the Origin to the Fossil", Dado Gallery, Seoul, Korea
1996 "Youn Woo Chaa", Andrew Shire Gallery, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
1995 "DADA Tour", Open Studio Show, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
1993 "To The Origin", Art Green Gallery, Seoul, Korea
1993 "From the Origin" Print Exhibition, Message Gallery, Seoul, Korea