Yeon Choi, a professor of computer art and animation at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, is set to have her exhibit “My Favorite Things” on display in the Hilliard Art Museum.

“My Favorite Things,” which will open on April 1, is a series of paintings depicting various household objects, plants and animals in circular canvases. In her artist’s statement, Choi writes on the significance of the items she depicts.

“The iridescent colors of butterfly wings and the silky textures of flower petals inspire joy,” Choi wrote. “I dream of spending time in my garden among them, relaxing, but the painful bug bites that accompany this beauty irritate me. Bug bites represent problems, agitations, and worries in my life.”

Choi stated that the images of domestic objects represent her femininity and identity. Of particular mention are the various paintings of hairbrushes with hair tangled in them, representing both the fear and acceptance of aging.

“I always try to convey the duality of life experiences. Good, bad. Beautiful and grotesque. But it’s the same thing,” Choi said.

The work focuses on the way even everyday objects can bring back deep memories associated with them.

“A lot of times, when you hold the objects, it triggers the memory. Memories of people you loved, or memories of people who tortured you, and all of those,” Choi said.

The images are all painted on circular canvases. Choi was inspired by the work of the psychologist Marie-Louise von Franz, who wrote about the symbolism of circles.

“Circles are symbols of the self, and because it goes around, it also represents the wholeness, the perfectness,” Choi said.

She first began painting on circular canvases during the COVID-19 pandemic, sharing that she felt they represented both the isolation from other people and disconnection from the world and also the connections we still share with other people.

Choi expressed that once her art is out there, it’s no longer strictly hers, and that viewers are free to interpret it however they please. But her hope is that they may find some way to project their own experiences through the images on display.

The museum’s director, Louanne Greenwald, shared the importance of showing a faculty member’s work and allowing for students to see their teacher in another light.

“What’s great about showing faculty at UL is it’s a really, I think, important opportunity for students to see their faculty member in a professional environment. To make that connection between practice and professional presentation, I think that’s really valuable,” Greenwald said.

Choi grew up in South Korea, attaining her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in painting there. But after watching the film “Pink Floyd – The Wall,” she was inspired to learn animation and moved to Massachusetts in order to study.

As there were economic troubles in South Korea at the time, Choi remained in America after her studies. She recalled visiting New Orleans for a conference and loved the city, which prompted her to seek out a job in Louisiana.

“Architecture was interesting, people are so easy, laid back. And I loved it. So when I actually looked for a job, I applied here in Lafayette,” Choi said.

Though she only planned to stay for a few years, she’s been teaching at UL Lafayette for more than 20 years. She credits her long stay to her growing to enjoy working with her colleagues, and especially the students she teaches.

“Students here, they are like the diamonds in the rough,” Choi said.

In addition to Choi’s work, the Hilliard Art Museum is observing and commemorating this year’s Women’s History Month with two more exhibitions by female artists: Luciana Abait’s “On the Verge” will be on display until July 29, and Kalee Appleton’s “Entanglement” will be displayed from March 21 to July 15.