Images provided by Xuan Ha / swandraws , Keil Troisi, WSU School of ADCI on Instagram, and Jooyoung Choi.
A few years ago, I heard a radio interview with school children discussing how they felt about Pluto no longer being "allowed" to be a planet. One boy began crying, and a girl became frustrated. I remember the little girl saying, "they're just going to give us the runaround, they'll say it's not a planet not, and then later they'll say it is...". Upon returning to my studio, I began thinking: Where do the things we love go when we no longer believe in them? Surely, Pluto still exists, but where does the version of Pluto that is still recognized as a planet go when the people of Earth no longer believe in it? Furthermore, where does the Brontosaurus go, when paleontologists no longer believe in it? Throughout its history, the "realness" of the Brontosaurus has been challenged. It all began in the late 1800s, with its existence being challenged or supported in the early 1900s, in the 1970s, the 1990s, and now it has been again officially recognized as a dinosaur since 2015.
As an artist whose work heavily relies on an ever-developing fantastic narrative and a heavy dose of world building, I often take issues and concerns I see rising up in my everyday life and translate them into stories that play out within my imaginary world called the Cosmic Womb. The Cosmic Womb is a magical realm that has become home to every snow person we thought melted away, every imaginary friend we grew out of, here they all are welcome. In my narrative, I have shared through paintings and sculptures the story of the brontosaurus, and it's many migrations between our Earthly reality and my imaginary world. Everyday time a paleontologist claimed that the Brontosaurus wasn't real, these dinosaurs would take refuge, fleeing Earth to the safety of my imaginary world. Moreover, Pluto along with the Triceratops have also made the great migration to the Cosmic Womb.
For the 2018 Riverfest, I am happy to welcome a two important characters from my imaginary world, one is a Brontosaurus by the name of "Perennial Favorites" and her adopted brother the "Big Time Believer", one day while making the migration between Earth and the Cosmic Womb, she said to her brother "I just wish, I wish I could be as real...--" Perennial looked down to the ground, searching for her words... "I wish I could be as real as this flower." And the flower below her was a Perennial, a flower that could always grow back, in fact, it was her favorite flower of all: a forget-me-not. "It's like me I always return, and I hope they won't ever forget me." And with that, Perennial Favorites cried and her tears dropped upon her tail, suddenly, beautiful flowers sprung from her tail, and grew all along her back like a beautiful floral mane. Perennial looked up to show her brother, but he was gone. The winds had picked up and he had been swept up into a giant vortex. Perennial, unsure of what to do, looked up into the sky and saw Pluto, she was also making the long journey, and so she asked the planet, how can I find my brother? Who will know where he is? "Well," said the Planet, "He probably got sucked up into the Wichita Vortex. If I was you, I'd ask Clyde Tombaugh, the smartest man I know, he was born in Kansas, and I would imagine, if he's there most people there must know a great many things." "Why is he so smart?" asked Perennial. "Well, for one thing, he discovered me." And so Perennial Favorites was off to Kansas to find Clyde Tombaugh and save her brother from this Wichita Vortex. On her way she came across a flyer for a festival called "Riverfest" on the flyer is said "Come One, Come All", "Oh my," she thought, "this must be where my brother is, he loves music, art, and festivals".
During the week of Riverfest, I, artist JooYoung Choi and the people of Wichita, Kansas will help Perennial Favorites by making, enjoying, and participating in the many things that her Brother loves: making flowers for the garden of courage and love, building a magic dinosaur house, participating in a city parade, and dancing to the sounds of The Revolution. We will be hosting a search party during the parade and growing a garden of all his favorite things throughout the festival. Will you help us find the Big Time, Believer?
Originally posted on May 20th 2018, re-edited on November 7th 2018.