Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre
After three years in Hong Kong, Young Paek-hee will return to her native South Korea at the end of the month. In a farewell exhibition, the wife of the South Korean consul-general, Cho Whan-bok, is showing 72 paintings: a range of representational, abstract and Christian-themed works produced during the past four years.
The paintings consolidate years of memories and emotions stemming from countries and places Young and her husband have lived since 1978, when they first left Korea. The fine arts graduate of Ewha Womans University in Seoul has lived in eight countries, including Bolivia, Mexico, Kenya and France.
'My paintings are full of joy and happiness, which is how my life is,' says Young.
While living in non-Asian countries, Young was forced to abandon oriental-style painting, using Chinese inks and brushes on paper because framing was complicated. She switched to oils about 30 years ago, and while travelling to Tulufang and Dunhuang in 2003, ancient Chinese murals caught her eye. Inspired by the earthiness of the murals, some of Young's canvases are covered with a layer of soil and then painted. 'I was impressed by the ancient murals, so I wanted to combine oriental and western techniques,' she says. 'I found the answer in the soil.'
In Souvenir (left), the mixed media on soiled canvas displays souvenirs such as wooden Russian dolls, a Notre Dame sculpture from France, and a fish ornament from Venezuela.
She's a practising Christian, and her Face painting is an abstract portrait of Christ. Other religious-themed works include Heaven Ordained, showing a couple encircled by flowers and stars on their way to heaven. Young finds relocating every few years a positive influence on her art. 'Moving gives me inspiration,' she says. 'For an artist this life isn't bad.'
Today-tomorrow, 10am-8pm, Roger Lin Studio, 7a Kennedy Rd, Central. Tel: 2577 1360