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Jieun June Kim is a Toronto-based, Korean-born painter, muralist, and art producer. She holds a BFA with honours in Korean Painting and Fashion Design from Duksung Women’s University (Seoul, Korea) and a MFA in Visual Arts from Washington University (St. Louis, USA). She has exhibited her paintings around the world since 2010 at notable galleries and events, exploring the idea of “home” as an immigrant.
As an expansion of her studio work, Jieun is also interested in creating safe spaces through street art. She has created numerous murals with various arts organizations, such as The STEPS Initiative, City of Toronto’s StreetARToronto, as well as corporate partners such as Samsung, Up Canada and Collective Arts Brewery.
She is a recipient of the Newcomer and Refugee Artist Mentorship grant from the Toronto Arts Council (2018) and was selected as one of the artists-in-residence at the Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto (2019). She is co-founder of KJ Bit Collective, which produces murals and street art events, and is a member of the Mural Routes program advisory committee team.
A lot of my illustrations, paintings are inspired by Korean folk arts. One of my favourite Korean symbols or folklore character is Horangi, the tiger. Tigers are revered as guardians and divine spirits and symbolize courage and power in Korean folklore and myth.
Tiger is in the symbolic role of protector, guarding against the three disasters (fire, flood, and wind) and the three agonies (war, famine, and pestilence). I thought it was a perfect subject to paint at this difficult time.
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