Jan. 19, 2020
Alumnus Adam Sjöberg (’07) will screen his second feature film, “I Am Sun Mu,” at an art alumni reunion event this Saturday, April 23. The reunion event will showcase student, faculty and alumni work, and honor the late Loren Baker and raise funds for the Loren Baker Scholarship Fund.
The scholarship fund was started in 2013 to honor Baker, who taught at Biola and served as the art department chair from 2003–2013. Baker was an accomplished sculptor and assemblage artist who devoted much of his life to Christian higher education.
“I'm really glad that Loren is being honored this weekend,” said Sjöberg. “It was Loren who sat with me as a sophomore in college, confused about my major and my career direction, and prayed with me and counseled me about taking the step of faith to become an art major and listen to the desires of my heart. Loren was an incredible professor and friend to his students and we all miss him tremendously.”
All money raised from the event will go directly into a scholarship fund for junior and senior art majors at Biola. The scholarship will be distributed for the first time for the 2017–2018 school year to a student who produces outstanding creative work, demonstrates leadership qualities and serves as a role model personally and spiritually for other art students.
In addition to a silent auction and raffle, the event will also offer artist talks and presentations from art professors Kurt Simonson and Jonathan Anderson. Additionally, Sjöberg and alumnus Justin Wheeler (’07), who produced the film “I Am Sun Mu,” will be doing a 30-minute discussion and Q&A after the free screening.
“It's getting a lot of attention, and it’s been in a bunch of film festivals. It just screened a month ago in London and had a big article written up about it in The Economist, so we’re excited that he’s getting the attention he is for it,” said Simonson.
Sjöberg, co-founder of Required Reading Productions, is a filmmaker and photojournalist whose work has taken him to more than 60 countries. His first feature film, “Shake the Dust” was produced by superstar rapper Nasir “Nas” Jones and was nominated at several film festivals around the country. The film is a global odyssey highlighting the power and dignity of the youth who are using breakdance and hip-hop to change their worlds in some of the world’s poorest countries.
“I Am Sun Mu” follows an artist, who after fleeing his native North Korea to defect to the south, works under the defiant alias “Sun Mu,” meaning “no boundaries.”
“He’s [Sjöberg] done two movies now, both of which have been hugely and critically acclaimed. This one is more specifically about art. It’s about an artist, and we’re excited because it’s very much him,” said Simonson. “It’s both a social justice issue and art, and I love that. I think it’s really relevant to so many people who want to figure out how to do art in a social justice context.”
As a former propaganda artist for the repressive regime of Kim Jong-un, Sun Mu transforms familiar images which once glorified the Supreme Leader into satirical political pop art. When offered a solo exhibition in China, the anonymous artist prepared his show undercover, risking his own freedom and safety to expose the truth through art.
After the film screening, Sjöberg and Wheeler, vice president of Liberty in North Korea, will be doing a 30-minute discussion and Q&A. They will be giving further insights into the process of making the film itself, as well as more information about the human rights crisis facing the people of North Korea.
“I'm really excited to be able to join the art department for alumni weekend and show my film,” said Sjoberg. “This film is about a fine artist — a North Korean painter fighting censorship and oppression — and it feels like the perfect opportunity to bring my work back to my alma mater.”
The free event will be held in Rood Hall on April 23 from 12 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., with dinner in the café at 5:30 p.m. and a 7 p.m. screening of “I Am Sun Mu” in Mayer’s Auditorium.
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