Julia Sun's poignant painting, "She Owned It,” was inspired by the story of Sulli—a Korean-pop idol. It speaks of resilience, courage, and the empowerment of women.
Julia reflects, "South Korea has strict social standards for women’s appearances. A Korean woman, especially a performing artist, needs to be humble, conservative, polite, and always put together. But Sulli rebelled against the social norm by wearing shirts without bras, getting drunk on social media, and openly supporting South Korea’s abortion laws. After much hatred piled on top of her, she eventually committed suicide.
Women who rebel against social norms often receive shame, while men generally experience fewer restrictions on their appearance. To destroy this double standard, I wanted to use this piece to highlight courageous women who do not conform to societal standards, who are not ashamed of their body, and who do not care about the judgments of others."
Hence, the bra in my painting is black to symbolize the death of popular opinion that women have to wear bras. I also chose an impressionist brushstroke style, with each individual brushstroke symbolizing different women and all the colors together making up the strong woman in the painting. Lastly, I chose a pink-purple color scheme because the two are traditionally viewed as feminine colors—but I want to show that women should not be afraid to embrace whichever color they like."
Julia Sun is a high school senior from Chicago, USA. As a social activist and an immigrant, she loves to engage in controversial discussions and listening to different opinions. She views her artwork as a vehicle to spark conversations to reflect on many social issues.