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David Jaewon Oh


David Jaewon Oh’s Combatants captures the strength, honesty, and endurance of women in combat sports.

David Jaewon Oh. Stefani, 2014. Digital C-print. 25 x 38 inches.
  • January 5 - 26, 2017
  • Opening: Thursday, January 5, 6:00 — 8:00 pm

The sights and sounds of the often male-dominated gyms where female combatants train come to life in this series of intimate photographic portraits that explore personal identity and gender roles.

Although there has been an increase in the number of women participating in boxing and ultimate fighting over the past two decades, they continue to be underrepresented in the media, seen as novelty acts, and confined by the paradox of accepted norms. Since 2012, Oh has traveled to Washington, Oregon, California, New York, and British Columbia, capturing the changing face of the field and helping to break stereotypes related to athleticism and physical ability.

Oh states, “I’ve photographed a world champion boxer who had to wait tables at a pancake spot a few days after winning her title, a single mom who lost everything after a natural disaster and needed a way to cope, a woman who was drawn to the sport as a way to build her sense of self, and a teenager who just “likes to fight”. I’m working with fighters who are participating in, arguably, one of the more historically male-dominated sports and yet it serves as an opportunity for them to find their identity and strength as women.”

About the Artist

David Jaewon Oh was born is Seoul, South Korea and now resides in Seattle. He received a BFA in Photomedia from the University of Washington, where he was honored with the Harold and Sylvia Tacker Award in Photography. His work is focused on the subjects of culture and gender in sports. Recent projects include the documentation of an LGBTQ running club and the Rat City Rollergirls. Combatants is his first solo exhibition in Seattle, but images from the series have been shown at Black Box Gallery in Portland, Gallery CLU in Los Angeles, and featured in online and print publications such as VSCO, Float Photo Magazine, Vice Fightland, and Good Sport Magazine. Oh was awarded a 2016 GAP Grant from Artist Trust.