Joon Hee Kim

Joon Hee Kim is an award-winning artist, who was an art director in her native South Korea, before coming to Canada to undertake patisserie studies at Le Cordon Bleu in Ottawa. She switched careers, which led her to becoming intrigued with ceramics. Kim was awarded the Cecil Lewis Sculpture Scholarship from Chelsea College of Arts in London in order to pursue her MFA.  

Kim examines her heritage through the lenses of multiple cultures during her travels to both national and international artist residencies including the Banff Clay Revival Residency (Canada), the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park Residency (Japan), the Zentrum für Keramik residency (Germany), and most recently completed a residency at the Archie Bray Foundation (Helena, MT). She has been a recipient of variety of awards and grants, including the Helen Copeland Memorial Award in Ceramics for six consecutive years from Craft Ontario; a variety of grants from both Canada Council for the Arts and Ontario Arts Council; the Best of Student, Best of Ceramics, and Best of Craft and Design from Toronto Outdoor Art Fair; and was awarded the prestigious Winifred Shantz Award for Ceramics from The Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery (Waterloo, Canada). Her latest achievement derives from her work being chosen through numerous selections for the Royal Botanical Garden’s International Sculpture Collection. Most recently, Kim’s work has been chosen for the Royal Botanical Garden’s International Sculpture Collection.

Artist Statement
My work aesthetically captures humanity in its true form, and how it becomes the reconstruction of new identities in the world. I use the unique language of ceramics, blended with my prospect of identity and voice through the clay, to translate an origin of meaning. I seek the active representation of redefining the historical human form and heritage of beauty in our viable conscious of soul. “Human” is a metaphor central to my work. The human body is seen as a vessel that holds language, lineage, memories, and an archive. Using this figurative expressionism, an evoked depiction materializes the primal notion of newfound empathy, curiosity, and a volatile exploration of human existence and purpose. It is a subversion of heritage and history that allows the collection and reconciliation of various identities, granting a glimpse into a beautiful coexistence in our society. This portrays the various experiences we face; building ourselves with continuing relations with other people’s identities, cultures, and societies, encouraging seeking about how they identify and what they identify with. There is a key focus on the human body, descriptive as a changing system. By strongly communicating in its own language, our bodies and spaces are connected by a perceived reality surrounding infinite ways of expression. With reciprocal forms and adornments that analyze identities that we seek, the resultant richly detailed sculpture contains a diverse tongue whispering hidden parts of our identities. I crave to be a conveyor of new narratives in human experienced phenomena and transformation of objects into a new visual language that goes beyond formalities to celebrate depicting individuals.