The purple square represents the relative size of the portrait to a 2 metre x 2 metre maximum size allowed.
miyhun maria kim
Home: Toronto, Ontario
Title: Triptych: Studies of Emily at La Napoule
Media: oil on canvas
Dimensions: 150 x 100 cm
During a month-long Canada-France cultural exchange artist residency, at La Napoule Foundation, France, in November 2022, I had the excellent company of nine other Canadian artists working in various research-creation modes. Every morning and evening, we gathered in the dining hall of the Chateau, surrounded by light coming through stained glass window doors overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Seated around a circular stone table, we would engage in conversations. Sharing stories, experiences, and food kept us grounded in this new location while absorbing and responding to the space.
Emily was engaging and gained the attention of everyone in the room in moments of toasts and laughter. Her practice involved going through all the rooms and spaces to gather and scavenge objects to compose multiple curious assemblages to photograph. We had our bedrooms on the same floor, split by a novel writer from Ottawa, Wayne. When Wayne and I became ill in the first week, isolated in our rooms for eight days each, Emily came with tea and treats to keep our spirits up. Through these small acts of care and noticing, we became friends.
One morning, I sat across from Emily at that dining table; it was the first time I noticed Emily alone, quietly eating. Behind her, the stained glass doors and moving light bounced off the soft waves of the autumn sea—a moment I absorbed and observed. After I painted layers of the tracings of the stained glass reflections, the colours of the sea, and the abstracted shapes of the background, I painted Emily in that light as a memory, an interpretation of the mood I felt in that moment before she looked up to smile.
The series of oil paintings and sculptural objects created in residence were responses to the sculptures of Henry Clews. The only portrait of a live person was that of Emily, who moved me then. I hope to share it with the audience in Canada as a way to keep living/current artists continually in conversation with each other through our works. In exchange, Emily had documented a site-specific live performance I had done for a separate project and our connection through our archival continues.
Mihyun Maria Kim is an interdisciplinary artist based in Toronto, researching untranslatable effects of transmitted post-memory, gaps in collective narratives, perception of time, and residual impacts of intergenerational trauma (through experiences of war, displacement, poverty and family divide). Her works are interdisciplinary through text, painting, performance, video, audio, site-specific installations, community-based round tables and public art.
Most recently, she has worked on a response project at the historic Gibson House, funded by the Toronto Art Council, and an exhibition project through the generosity of the Canada Council for the Arts. She has been a resident artist at La Napoule artist residency on a cultural exchange (2022), AKIN X Collision Gallery (2020), the Mississauga Living Arts Centre (2019-2020), and during her three years in Europe (2017-2019), she participated and worked for international artist residencies in Paris, Barcelona, Seville and Leipzig. She is a co-founder of MODS collective, and her works have shown internationally with solo shows in Toronto, Leipzig and Seville. Public murals exist in Mongolia, Kenya, Brazil, Korea and Canada. She has an MFA in Interdisciplinary Art, Media and Design and a BFA in Drawing and Painting, and she continues to work toward relational research-creation projects