May 2015 Member of the Month: Joan Little
“I recognized my sister right away when I saw her since she had a strong resemblance to my mother at her age, but my sister had deeper wrinkles on her face and a frail posture. My sister recognized me as well, and came right in front of me and said, “Hello J.S. You have the same features as when you were young. I am so glad to see you.” At that moment, we both cried while holding hands.
My sister was accompanied by a young man whom she introduced as her younger son, but I could not find any resemblance between my sister and him. I had a suspicion that he might be a government agent.”
– Excerpt from “Family Reunion in North Korea” by Joan Little
How long have you been a member of Scarborough Arts?
I have been a member of Scarborough Arts for three years.
What kind of art do you practice, and how long have you been practicing it?
My art practice is writing. I write short stories mainly about my life experiences. I have been writing for three years, thinking that someday I would publish my memoir.
Tell us about the piece that we are featuring today.
These pieces are my life stories from the Korean Civil War, and how it affected every aspect of my and my family’s lives.
The war was the reason why I got separated from mys sister. I finally went to see her in North Korea last year, after 63 years of thinking that she was dead. I don’t know when I can see her again or hear from her. It is a tragedy that families are forced to live in the different regimes with no chance to communicate or visit each other.
There are still many places where wars are still going on and incurring more misery to humankind. I pray for God’s intervention to stop the wars in this world soon.
Where is your favourite place in Scarborough to go for inspiration?
I often go to Scarborough Bluffs to think and be inspired to write. The view of the endless horizon of the calm Ontario Lake is my favourite spot.
What is the best piece of artistic advice you have ever gotten?
The best piece of advice that I have received and really took to heart is from Mr. David Bester, who was the facilitator of Scarborough Arts’ Scarborough Seniors Write, a program that I participated in a couple of years ago. He told us to “Write, write, and write whether you feel like writing or not. You should discipline to write every day.”
You can read more excerpts of Joan Little’s literary pieces at the Bluffs Gallery, as part of our InspirAsians: A Celebration of Asian Heritage, Culture & Arts programming. Joan’s installation is on view at The Bluffs Gallery, 1859 Kingston Road, from May 5 to June 1, 2015.