Art driven by love
/ CultureM meets Dana Kapelian, Photographer and Visual Artist from CultureM on Vimeo.
By Hellynn Jung
“I come from a complicated environment,” said Dana Kapelian. “So that was where my need to create came from.”
Kapelian, an artist, grew up in Haifa, Israel where tension is high. Her mother also actively pursued women’s rights. But from this place sprung her commitment to inquire upon societal issues, express her analysis of them creatively, and furthermore discover a beauty in them.
As the wife of Daneil Kapelian who is currently audiovisual attache at the French Embassy in Seoul, she has now been living here for a year. Having studied at the San Francisco Art Institute, Kapelian became the winner of multiple scholarships. Her exhibitions have ranged in location from France to Brazil. She is a global citizen, having held residences in London, New York, San Francisco, Paris and now Seoul.
Bearing a rather calm sense of self and a serene aura, Kapelian is a multifaceted artist; being an artistic director, visual artist, iconographer and photographer are all inclusive in her job profile. She uses her creative talents to explore curiosities regarding complex subjects such as women, children and the political world.
Kapelian’s latest exhibition called “Serendipity” was held in Seoul from October to November, in which photographs taken in various areas of Paris were displayed. The core theme of this expo, much like her other work, sheds light upon the beauty of things that usually go unnoticed on a daily basis. Furthermore, the photos elicited an emotion of happiness or surprise, hence the title given, “Serendipity”.
All artists are driven to express the emotions vital to their very being, whether it is frustration or bliss. It is a methodical process of answering questions about themselves and the world they live in. As for this particular artist, the emotion of love is the driving force and inspiration for all her work.
“My work is about life and love,” she said, “loving people, loving life.”
There is more ahead for Kapelian as several projects are in the works.
One of them is titled “The Ajumma Project,” a book and expo in development about Korean women. She takes interest in the many versions of them living in a society where modern and traditional lifestyles clash within a metropolis that is building unimaginable momentum. But why the fascination with ajummas?
“I grew up holding signs and demonstrating on streets for women,” she explained. “My mother was a women’s rights activist in Israel.”
One can only imagine what it must have been like for women in a nation so precarious. For Kapelian, this kind of childhood sparked the passion to develop an artistic outlet.
Perhaps that is one of the reasons why she can relate to Korea and its female inhabitants. It may be that she identifies with a certain kind of beauty in Korean women that usually goes unnoticed everyday in such a complex, male-dominated society.
No matter what, it will surely be a window for others to experience a part of Korea she has come to love, through her eyes.