Written in "hanmun" or traditional Korean/Chinese writing, on the left translates to "the republic of Korea" and on the right reads "North Korea." The center panel features a woman in traditional Korean dress called "hanbok" with abstracted proportions stretching and pulling the two sides together. "I have always been intrigued and heartbroken over the separation of north and south Korea, especially since I have family on both sides," says Lauren.

This painting is a triptych composed of three separate cradled wood panels each measuring 18"x18".

- Lauren Chai


Oil, enamel, acrylic on wood
Finished black edges
Ready to hang

Signed on back

18" h x 54" w x 1" d
6 lbs. 0 oz.



Lauren Chai
Honolulu, Hawaii

Getting to Know Lauren

Lauren Chai is known for contrasting her traditional Korean upbringing with her modern American life and including a personal story or cultural narrative to accompany each piece. As the first in her family born in America, she was raised by her South Korean grandparents in Hawaii. She moved across the Pacific to San Francisco to study at the Academy of Art University. After some time following the technique-based curriculum, Lauren says she relished breaking the rules and mixing abstract elements into the work. Her current series places side by side traditional elements, such as Korean folk dancers and Buddhist temple architecture, and modern elements, such her own marriage or a portrait of fashion designer Creepy Yeha. In fact, most of her models are personally connected to the artist, so Lauren knows their stories and captures the essence of who they are beyond their Asian American heritage. She explains that her works are "a reflection of my traditional upbringing in chaos with my modern life as well as the clash of North and South Korea. All pieces of one person, of one Korea." She has been featured in NBC News, KBS World Radio, Houston NPR, and the Honolulu Star Bulletin.