JooYoung Choi: The Table of Love

September 08 - September 30, 2022

The Table of Love


It all began when a terrible space virus called Konka-Haji Cruma (the scientific name is Kongkahnghajicogno Crudelismaeum, which means Unhealthy Mind, Unfeeling Heart) spread across the universe. This illness clouded the minds and hearts of those infected. By adorning one’s forehead with a protective amulet, the wearer could protect themselves and others from the virus. But a cure had to be found soon to heal all of those who were afflicted. Despite people’s attempts to stop the virus, the level of fear, sorrow and confusion rose to intergalactic levels never recorded before.

Over time the collective psychic energy from all who were impacted by the virus caused a merciless space storm to erupt. No longer was the nighttime sky filled with stars, instead, the heavens were now covered by infinite gray clouds, unending lightning, thunder, wind and rain.

Luckily, a brilliant sentient humanoid Black Star named Resilient Heart (a single mother from outer space-who also happened to be one of the top scientists and doctors in the entire universe) was working on a cure that would heal those who were ill with the virus and protect all others from becoming infected.

Everything was going according to plan, but there was one problem, she couldn’t seem to identify the final ingredient to activate the cure. It didn’t take long for word to travel, soon everyone knew that Resilient Heart was on the verge of creating the cure.

Many were overjoyed that a solution to virus might be soon realized by this extraordinary scientist. But there were some who found Resilient Heart’s research threatening.

An evil Chicken Monster named Monk Nugatorious had been feeding off the fear and confusion emitted from the ever-growing Konka-Haji Cruma space storm. Monk had grown quite large in size and in power. He wasn’t going to let Resilient Heart take away all he had gained.

Monk decided Resilient Heart had to be stopped. He rounded up his troop of Selfish Garbage Zombies and together they embarked upon a mission to find Resilient Heart and stop her from creating the cure.

Hearing this news, Resilient Heart decided to move her research lab to a safe place that Monk Nugatorious could never see.

Knowing that Monk was a greedy, uncompassionate, selfish monster, she decided to complete her research on a planet that only those who understand the importance of caring for one another can find. This beautiful and mysterious world is called Magna Veritas. On this planet is a mystical table called the Table of Love. This table has within it a force energy of goodness. Although this force energy is kind to all, it only allows those who can feel compassion for others to take a seat at the magical table.

After Resilient Heart found the Table of Love, she completed her research and concluded that the missing ingredient could only be obtained with the help of citizens from every region of the universe. Using an intergalactic telegraph system, she sent out a message to millions of interplanetary systems. She explained that the cure can only be fully realized when citizens from across the universe put aside their differences and agreed to share a feast of Quantum Soup at the Table of Love. She sent them her coordinates on Magna Veritas and requested they share this invitation to all who wished to stop the ever-growing storm and the Konka-Haji Cruma virus from spreading.

Upon hearing this message Monk Nugatorious searched for Magna Veritas and the Table of Love, but the terrible Chicken Monster and his troop of Selfish Garbage Zombies could never find the planet, because they could not see the value in caring for others.

Due to their lack of compassion, they could not see Magna Veritas, and eventually Monk and his troops became terribly lost. They were sucked into a black hole and then subsequently gobbled up by a space piranha named Dave. Although Monk would never know it, Dave the Space Piranha actually attended the Quantum Soup feast at the Table of Love! Monk tried many times to escape from the jaws of his pescatarian prison but never succeeded.

As the citizens of the universe dined on Quantum Soup at the Table of Love, the storm of fear and confusion began to weaken, and with it went Monk’s powers.

To this day the Chicken monster remains inside the belly of this celestial fish. Dave the Space Piranha has brought Monk to many distant wonderous worlds, but unfortunately, Monk’s own greed and fear of losing power has left him locked up in a prison of his own design.

But all was not dreary and sad on this day. For it was a day of joy and healing. Each brave adventurer who came to Magna Veritas helped to manifest the missing ingredient to make the cure.

What was that ingredient you ask?

The laughter and joy shared by citizens from across the universe, and the cosmic energy it produced. The tears that were shed and the words of compassion and comfort that were spoken. It was the essence of this special energy that Resilient Heart needed: a moment in time where faith in one another was restored.

With the final ingredient she completed the cure. Promptly she shared it with them all. After the feast had ended, the brave adventurers departed for their planets, they were now prepared to share the cure with their people and help bring an end to the sickness that had caused them so much despair. The universe and all who lived within it were ready to heal. This was a new era of hope and newfound faith for one another.

This exhibition and the painting titled “The Table of Love” commemorates that historical day. On the anniversary of this occurrence, people from across the universe meet with their friends and family and celebrate what is now known as Intergalactic Table of Love Day.

And now you know about this extraordinary moment in celestial history when citizens from across the universe stopped a storm fueled by fear, healed their people, and experienced a moment of peace between folk from all regions of the universe.


Notes from the Artist:

A Collection of Stories Shared as Paintings

In 2012, I created the Cosmic Womb, which means I have known some of these characters for 10 years. In many ways this show is a celebration of the Cosmic Womb community, and all the loving people (teachers, friends and family) who have encouraged me to have confidence in my creativity.

This series of works is inspired by the “The Table of Love” painting. While working in the studio I imagined the cast of characters sitting across from one another at this celestial table. How do you paint intergalactic small talk? How do you depict a deep conversation between two beings from distant galaxies? I imagined my characters sharing old tales and adventures, as well as discussing highlights from recent Cosmic Womb events.

What Inspired the Narrative

It is such an honor to present to you this piece. It would not have been possible without the help of my dear friend Kymle BaNH. We grew up together and I have always admired her love of life and her ability to care for others.

Today she is a registered nurse who remains committed to healing those in need. During the time I was creating the composition for this painting Kymle informed me that her and her coworker were both exposed to the Delta variant. She was not infected but her coworker was.

As I worked on the piece, I checked in with her. She talked about her garden, playing music and even created a watercolor of a pie named Frankie which I have included in this piece. One day I received a message from her letting me know her co-worker had been in the ICU and had passed away.

At that moment I realized that I needed to push myself to create something more powerful than I had imagined creating originally. I added a healing serum jet injector modeled after the Hypospray device used in the original Star Trek Series into the hands of Resilient Heart. I added band-aids on each person who sat at the Table of Love.

I sent the new image to Kymle. “They’re wearing bandages!” she texted back. I could feel the joy. I wanted her to know that I care. That I wished that everyone was doing their part to keep all of us safe. To keep my friend safe.

Origins of the Table of Love

In my beloved undergraduate painting studio class, led by the incredible Professor Laurel Sparks, we referred to our meeting table as The Table of Love. I learned so much about myself and others at that table and in that studio. It was there that I began to understand what I was capable of and the power of art. I love my studio mates dearly, they are some of the most strong, compassionate, determined, loving and simply wonderful people I have ever met in my entire life. The love and growth we experienced is something I have always wished I could share with others through my art.

In these challenging times, I wanted more than ever to create work that celebrates the healing energy I received from my time at the Table of Love.

In my imaginary world called the Cosmic Womb, there is a planetary motto: Have Faith for You Have Always Been Loved. Although I didn’t create this phrase until many years after completing my BFA, it was here in this classroom surrounded by people who accepted me and appreciated me for who I was that I began to see what type of world I could build through my art.

And so, I say to you all:

May your heart and mind be unclouded.
May you know that tears of sadness and joy are both welcomed at the Table of Love.
May you be a brave adventurer in search of hope and healing.
And please have faith, for you have always been loved.

-JooYoung Choi