Prayer Cocoon, installation views at Voelker Orth Museum, New York

video still from performance titled "Prayer Cocoon"

Click above image for the video documentation of Song's performance "Prayer Cocoon" at the Voelker Orth Museum on June 25, 2023.  Video document by Sixty First Production.  Additional camera work by Makoto Kishino.

Performance on Sunday June 25th at 6pm. 

New works on view June 25 through August 27

at the Voelker Orth Museum

The Voelker Orth Museum presents “Prayer Cocoon: PPE in the New Era”, a performance and an exhibition of recent works created by New York based artist Dani Changah Song. 

In the performance "Prayer Cocoon," artist Dani Song metaphorically embodies the process of rebirth through the act of sewing. Encasing herself in a loose bodysuit, she establishes a direct correlation to entering a hibernating state within a cocoon. Through this, Song envisions the Prayer Cocoon as a new type of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for a post-pandemic world. 

Sewing, a fundamental labor associated with sheltering and nesting, symbolizes the primal act of constructing a safe haven. While architectural dwellings provide stable and stationary shelter, textiles have historically served as materials for nomadic shelters and protective coverings. In Song's recent textile artworks and accompanying performance, she delves into the contemporary meaning of "protection and shelter in the post-COVID era.”

Textiles, beyond their utilitarian function, have served as carriers of tradition and cultural narratives. Inspired by Bojagi, Korea's traditional wrapping textile, Song's artworks exude a light and fluid appearance. She refers to them as amulets, portable totems that can be installed in any chosen space by the beholder. Serving as vessels of prayers and yearnings, each artwork bestows a sense of sanctity upon its surroundings. Crafted from silk fabric dyed with organic pigments, the artworks stand as proxy for the natural world. The fabric's transparency allows light to permeate, illuminating the environment in which it is situated. This cumulative effect evokes the ambiance reminiscent of stained glass windows found in houses of worship, filtering light and fostering a personal space for contemplation and meditation.

"Prayer Cocoon" was made possible (in part) with public funds from the Queens Arts Fund, a re-grant program supported by New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and administered by New York Foundation for the Arts.

She Beams and Nods: In collaboration with Makoto Kishino.  Pigments and botanical dyes on silk; 54 by 59 inches; 2023. 

Life of a Womb pigments and botanical dyes on silk and cotton; 59 by 47 inches; 2022. 
Painted textile piece made from eco-printed fabric, it is to be hung from the ceiling so it can be viewed from all sides. It is a response to a recently overturned Roe vs Wade. The allegorical images are from Korean folk painting tradition. Esoteric tradition of iconographic painting was observed through the use of natural medium(silk, mineral pigments and deer glue), and by wishing upon the painting.

Life of a Womb (reverse side view)

Prayer Cocoon natural dye on silk with cotton thread; 2022.  
Both a sculpture and a performance piece, this is an interpretation of PPE in Covid19 era. Prayer Cocoon represents both a protection and a barrier that one needs to outgrow. The performance involved slowly sewing myself into the cocoon, then undoing the stitching to break out from the cocoon. As the news of racially motivated violence heightened the fear in Asian-American community and Jewish community, I prayed for the spirit of the community to be protected from the fear and to break away from that fear.

Let Me Be the Prism of You Light in the Belly of the Beast   natural dyes and embroidery on silk; 43 by 32 inches: 2021 

Crafting under the concept of "art as an amulet or an altar icon," I design portable textile art that offers versatile installation and configuration options for the user. In natural light, the fabric sculptures evoke the hues of stained glass windows found in places of worship. The luminosity of the textiles achieved through natural dyeing techniques, providing the sculptures with an unmistakably earthy and pagan aesthetic. The colors, bathed in sunlight, enhance the tactile and spiritual qualities of the art, inviting personal interpretation and connection.

Let Me Be the Prism of You the Belly of the Beast (detail view)

I Write Your Name in a Cloud   natural dyes and cotton thread on silk; 30 by 30 inches; 2021.
As a part of a series titled "Love Letters" I created patchwork pieces inspired by Bojagi (Korean traditional wrapping cloth). When hung vertically, silk Bojagi is like a soft version of stained glass windows in churches. The organic colors in the silk are transfigured by the light, showing how sublimely beautiful nature's colors can be. As the Covid changed the way we look at nature, my newly formed reverence for the Nature was expressed in the series.

I Write Your Name in a Cloud (detail view)

Pearlescent Sky in Your Eyes botanical dyes and embroidery on silk; 21 by 40 inches; 2021

Eco-print Workshop  Views from eco-print workshops at Queens Botanical Garden & Queens Museum; 2021.  
As part of NYC Artists Corp with the support of New York, two workshops were held. Workshops were open to all ages and skill levels.  

Leftover natural dye on cotton; 29.5 by 50 inches; 2020

Sewn with the remnants fabric from face covering making activities during pandemic lockdown, the title ”Leftover" denotes the feeling of guilt but it also hints at the resilience in the time of crisis.


Myth of Circle  Indigo on cotton (quilted wall hanging); 42 by 42 inches; 2015
Created using traditional Japanese textile dyeing technique, the artwork consists of nine reconfigurable units.

Icon I  pigment and gold leaf on silk, mounted on paper 20 by 24.5 inches; 2015-2016 

The images of Icon I & II were taken directly from the propaganda photographs released by the North Korean government. Exploring the theme "cult of personality" of Kim Jong-un, I tried to reconcile the spectacle of seemingly genuine emotions(expressed by the children depicted in the paintings) with an equally striking fascination expressed by the media. The style of paintings was influenced by the spectacular visual impact of Himalayan Thangka paintings. The delirious reverence expressed both in Thangka and the propaganda stills seemed to trigger something darkly instinctual within the mass. The "otherness" heightened by the media's interpretation, and the exploitation of the human emotions through the images seemed to be a pervasive theme in contemporary cultural landscape.

Icon II pigment and gold leaf on silk, mounted on paper; 
26 by 26.5 inches 2015-2016

Human Touch  exhibition views at Wanted Design, New York, 2014.  
Presentation of commissioned textile collection for Bernhardt Design.  Silk painting demonstration and tea serving station were part of a multi-media exhibition.

Currency of the Assimilation
Currency of the the Assimilation stamped gold; 1998 - present
Commemorative gold coins(in edition of 6) were created to mark the naturalization of the artist.  As part of this conceptual, on-going project, some of the coins were bartered to "purchase" artworks of other artists.

      In the project titled “Currency of the Assimilation”, a commemorative coin was designed to mark my naturalization.  Goldsmith was commissioned to fabricate the coins from18 carat gold, in the edition of six.  Embossed on the coins are the years I spent as a resident alien, drawing the tongue-in-cheek comparison between the years of assimilation to  a monetary value. 

Coins are then bartered with artworks done by other artists.  The project will be completed when all but one coin is spent on acquiring artworks.  The exhibition of these artworks as a collection, including the one remaining commemorative coin will be presented as one complete conceptual project.

    Vaguely comical in its megalomaniac virtues, self minted commemorative coins usually are signifiers of power and prestige.  But I considered these coins to be the keepsakes of the future - the engraved year on the coin marks the years I resided in the United States as an alien. And at same time, it represented the promise of my future self as a “naturalized” citizen.  The benefits and the burden of becoming a citizen is represented through the paradigm of capitalism, where the value of “assimilation”(represented by the coin) is exchanged with the ownership of goods and prestige.  The conduit of this narrative is the gold coin, a universally accepted holder of value.  In a more profound sense, it may be absurd to think a person can change nationality overnight, yet the “nationality” is a concrete right one can exercise given the right conditions. American values are based on such a notion.  The act of minting & spending the coins presents the idea of "legal status" as a kind of currency and a leverage.