Jieun June Kim

Ten Symbols of Longevity by Jieun June Kim

Location: Humber College North Campus - D Building, 2nd Floor



About the work

My painting practice is founded on my connection to the spaces around me; my love of the natural and urban environments and folk arts in Korea; the homeland where I was born and raised. My paintings are imbued with the symbolic forms and language of Korean cultural heritage, re-imagined in response to the contemporary context of my lived experience. My images create an imagined utopia using the various symbolisms and motifs from Korean folk art.

This piece is about the ten traditional Symbols of Longevity (십장생 ). The ten traditional Symbols of Longevity refers to the ten objects or creatures that symbolize “ immortality”. In Eastern society, ‘ 10’ (十) is a base number for all numbers. In this symbol 'ㅡ' represents both the East and the West, and 'ㅣ' represents the South and the North, which combines to symbolize the completeness of all four sides and the center. Therefore, the meaning of "10" is for completeness, superiority and eternity, not just limiting its meaning to numbers. My ancestors dreamed of a perfect world/utopia and created many works of art with this theme, hoping for a “happy” life. 

“The ten traditional Symbols of Longevity (십장생 )" is not only found in Korea, but also seen in various forms all over the world. I want to combine this human fantasy of longevity, immortality, and this aspiration for eternity with Korean traditional culture– expressing it as a new utopia. 

Following is the list of “The ten traditional Symbols of Longevity (십장생 )" 

The sun (해) 
Cloud (구름)
Water (물)
Mountain (산)
Rocks (돌)
Pine trees (소나무)
Cranes (학)
Turtles (거북)
Deer (사슴)
Mushroom of immortality (불로초)




To view more of Jieun's work check out jieunjunekim.com and instagram.com/junekima.rt