The Naked Tree: A tribute to Park Wan-So

Jin Ah Jo

1 December 2015

Jin Ah Jo, Naked tree

Jin Ah Jo, Naked tree

This brooch is my personal tribute to the admired Korean novelist, Park Wan-so. The word “나목” (Na Mog) is the name of her first published novel in Korea. The story is about a young woman who lost her brothers in war and tries to survive in that terrible period of post-Korean war history. In the book, Kyung-A works at a US army camp where she meets a painter who paints a very big naked tree.

“몇십 년이나 묵은 은행이 그 가을엔 왜 그렇게 처절하도록 노오랬던가. 난 그것을 보며 왜 그렇게 살고 싶고, 죽고 싶고를 번갈아가며 격렬하게 소망했던가. 지금도 그것이 궁금할 뿐 내 기억의 소급은 노오란 빛 속에 용해되어 다시는 헤어나질 못했다.”

(How yellow the-so many decades old-gingko tree was in that fall! Observing the tree I so desperately wanted to live one moment and die another. I am still wondering why, however, my retroactive memory has been dissolved in that yellow and lost forever)

The speaker of my quote is Kyung -A (Her name is Lee, Kyung but everyone calls her Kyung-A) herself and Gingko tree is not the naked tree, but her observation of one tree that reminds the memory of her past related to her brother’s death, which she doesn’t want to recall.

Gingko tree is a kind of tree you can see everywhere in Korea. It is especially beautiful when the leaves turn into yellow, which is autumn.

It is my memory of the season for me and also the strong colour. Yellow reminds me of my desire, hope, and desperation of life in Korea, which never stops wherever I live. Just like what Kyung-A had…

The black physical shape of  나 목 layered on a red background is a very geometric and fits well into a square box. It reflects my love of the Korean alphabet, my first visual language.


Jin Ah Jo is a contemporary jeweller living and working in Melbourne,  Australia. For her making jewellery is all about creating wearable unpredicted forms that reflects multiple cultural experiences. At the moment, she is preparing her first solo exhibition in Melbourne, which will resonate her experience of participation in the show at New York City.

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  • AnnaDavern says:

    This brooch and what Jinah has written, makes me want to read Na Mog. Can I also point out that there is a typo in the last sentence of the introduction?

  • Jin Ah Jo says:

    Thanks for your lovely feedback, Anna and Nicky. The influence of her novels on my growth in my 20s and 30s was huge and I still deeply admire and love the author. I was very sad when she passed away 5~6 years ago. ….


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