American artist and writer Theresa Hak Kyung Cha was born in South Korea during the Korean War. Her family immigrated to the United States in 1962. Cha earned her BA and MA in comparative literature and her BA and MFA in art from the University of California, Berkeley.

Cha’s work incorporates multiple perspectives of culture, history, and artistic media. Her art is interdisciplinary, combining elements of various media and theoretic approaches, culminating as performance pieces, films, concrete poetry, and artists’ books. One such piece is the experimental novel, Dictée (1982), for which she is most well known. Drawing on a diverse range of cultural and spiritual exposure, Cha’s body of work is rich with linguistic investigation amidst themes of exile, displacement, and redemption.

One week after the publication of Dictée, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha was murdered in New York City at the age of 31. Despite her unfortunate and early death, Cha’s collection of films, writings, and visual art is substantial, and is housed at the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.

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