K93-1091 is a personal journey back in time. The series is a photographic exploration of family relationships and connections between Tislevoll as an adopted child and the search for his biological mother. Korean adoption began in 1953 as a consequence of the Korean War, and as of today, there are over 200,000 people who have been adopted from South Korea. Korean adoption reached its heights in the late 70s and into the 80s. Unlike the period immediately following the Korean War, when most adopted children were orphans who were abandoned, the majority of the children sent for adoption in this period were born to single mothers from poor and working-class backgrounds. In 1985, 8,760 babies from South Korea were adopted, an average of 24 babies left the country every day. Single mothers and children out of wedlock still struggle to this day with being stigmatized and frozen out of Korean society. Tislevoll came to Norway in 1994 and has often felt that he is different. This has reinforced the feeling of being adopted, which has created an urge to understand his Korean history. Tislevoll has spent much time throughout his life being angry at and blaming his biological mother, but lately he has tried to turn things around. While searching for her, Tislevoll has recently been traveling around South Korea to get an understanding of how things were from her perspective. He has always dreamed of meeting his biological mother one day, and he does not know if he will ever get that opportunity. Tislevoll hopes and believes that their paths will cross each other at some point.
Jonas Yang Tislevoll (b. 1994) was born as Jin Sub Yang in the city of Daegu in South Korea and was given the name of Jonas Yang Tislevoll when he was adopted to Fitjar, a small town in Western Norway. He has always had a slight feeling of being an outsider to Norwegian society because of his Korean background. Ironically he had the same feelings while traveling around South Korea due to the lack of cultural understanding and language barriers. This has enhanced Tislevoll’s passion for society, identity, belonging and political challenges. It has often drawn him to tell stories that he observes from an outside perspective where his subjective opinions can be expressed. Other times, he has a need to be on the inside where people need someone to tell their exact story. Therefore, he uses photography to convey stories and personal projects that he believes should see the light of day. Tislevoll does not see himself as a photographer, but as a storyteller.