Helena Parada Kim was born to a Korean nurse and a Spanish immigrant worker. She was brought up in Cologne, Germany. She studied art at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf where her artistic capability gained recognition as a disciple of Professor Peter Doig, a world-renowned artist. Deeply touched by photographs featuring Korean nurses dispatched to Germany that she saw in her mother’s photo album, she became deeply interested in the history and culture of Korea. Through this exploration into her own Korean identity Parada Kim began tackling subject matters such as Korean nurses, hanbok (Korean traditional clothing), and ancestral rites.Read More
Parada Kim has produced a variety of series with the subject matter of the hanbok, exploring the personal stories pertaining to this traditional dress. The hanbok in her paintings ushers viewers to a specific era and moment, extending the arena of exploration from an individual to a collective history. To the artist, the act of executing paintings with Korean subject matter is a long process of searching for her identity as a Korean, but to other Koreans, it may serve as an opportunity to pictorially remind themselves of facets of Korean history less familiar in contemporary times. Noted Renaissance painters such as Tiziano Vecelli and Diego Velazquez as well as 17th century realist Dutch still lives profoundly influence Parada Kim’s work. The motifs of her paintings are faithful to traditional painting techniques while laying out aspects of contemporary society and history. Placed throughout her paintings, these motifs work as significant clues to into the history of an age and reflect on specific events identified by the artist.
Text courtesy JARILAGER Gallery.