Art as reflection of change is a vital aspect of creative energy in our culture.
Such a manifestation is a key theme of Reconciling [hwahoe] Femininity [yeosong] and Confucianism [yugyeo]: Expressions of Contemporary Korean Women Artists, a collection of mixed media art by six Korean women artists.
Expressions of femininity have traditionally been frowned upon in a Confucian societyy and reconciliation of identity as postmodern oeuvre has proven to be fertile ground for artistic expression, especially pertinent for Confucian women artists of Korea.

Many scholars have suggested that Korea is perhaps the nation in Asia most steeped in Confucian ideology, surpassing China, the founding country of Confucianism. Within this context, women of Korea, especially artists, find themselves forced to challenge the traditional ethos inherent in everyday Confucianist culture of gendered hierarchy. In Reconciling Femininity and Confucianism the artistic journey of six women is presented as visual dialectic for the American audience to develop a better understanding of the shifting demarcations of Korean women identities. Korea is undergoing a period of transition as the past and present converge, creating a unique culture with promise for a more equitable society capable of transcending Confucian limitations. Reconciling Femininity and Confucianism was organized to introduce the highly individual and personal art of Chang Sungah, Lee Hwira, Im Boklae, Kim Jungsun, Oh Jinyoung, and Lee Myungjin as interpretative statements of their identity as Confucian women artists. While their methodologies vary greatly, the contextual voice of the exhibition, however, remains consistent. The artists express their femininity in increasing discord with Confucianist society by searching their own history to produce work that conveys their unique interpretations. For the artists, the process of reconciling their femininity with Confucianism is a means of realizing a sense of values as people, and as women. In this sense, the exhibit represents, a coming of age for these women artists in Confucian Korea.

Historically, Korea has always been intertwined with the dominant cultures of China. Contemporary Confucianism in Korea has evolved from the original moralistic Analects of Confucius (552 - 479 BCE) or (Gongja) who lived in China some two thousand five hundred years ago. By the Goryeo dynasty in Korea (918 - 1392), Confucian ethical codes were applied to the upper echelon of the society. Confucianism was given due recognition as a practical way to handle state affairs...but it never penetrated deep into everyday existence. The emergence of Neo-Confucianism during the Joseon dynasty (1392 - 1910) represents the nationalistic fervor that resulted in the pervasive ideology that still resonates in contemporary Korean society. The reverence for Confucianism is evidenced by the deification of it scholars and the image of Yi Hwang (1501 - 1570), better known by his pen name Toegye, whose image appears on the most often used 1,000.00 won note (Korean monetary denomination).

Foremost among the neo-Confucian principles espoused by the scholars was filial piety, with the king commanding the utmost position of authority over subgroups of clans organized hierarchically by gender, age, and class.
With the support of a hundreds of years of history of male-centric practice, the ideology of Confucianism has become completely indoctrinated.
Until now, affirmation and assertion of femininity in Confucian Korea has been at best a passive and futile exercise. Today, the Confucian- based patrilineal social structure is facing challenges from the traditionally marginalized groups of the society who have always been disenfranchised.
They are questioning the relevance of such an antiquated system for contemporary culture. In the new millennium, it will be necessary to reconcile the transforming contemporary cultures with the traditionalists who advocate maintaining a status quo on current social systems.
Reconciling the two opposite spectrums will pose a unique, if not altogether impossible challenge as society evolves to meet the demands of a rapidly transforming society.

The culture in transition is creating a paradoxical meeting of Confucianism and femininity. Women are actively engaged in explorations of identity and
evaluating their own role in contemporary Korean society.