Statement From the Artist, by Jun Lee

When I was in first grade, there was a man who sold chicks daily outside of my school. They were so cute and appealing I had no choice but to buy one. I prepared my chick a bed and some food, but within a week it passed away. I did not know why it died and cried for days. I then purchased several more chicks, but none survived longer than a month. After that, I promised myself that I would never get a chick again.

This unforgettable childhood memory has been my obsession and inspiration for quite some time and made me realize the inescapable truth of life. Through my work, I explore human’s tendency to compete with one another. I see myself as one chick in a cage of many– who are all just like me. We all try to escape the cage even though we do not know what is beyond. The only thing we know is the life outside the cage must be better than inside the small cage. We’re forced to step over someone to survive the cage, then we discover the difficult truth. The cage was our innocence before we knew the truth about the competition of life.

When a chick grows into a rooster, this is how I now see myself. While a chick is the symbol of desire and fear of the competitions in life, a rooster symbolizes a winner or a loser but one that can anticipate the fight. The rooster still has fear in his eyes but hides the fear with his vicious comb, fearless feet and exotic feathers. Every time he walks into the fight ring, he stands with pride and holds his head high. I used to see myself as a chick, lost but still fighting. Now this chick has finally gotten what it wished for: to be a rooster, the last fighter standing.