There is not much to add to what has been said about famous Korean painter Bang Hai Ja. Ninety exhibitions were devoted to her in Europe, Korea, USA, Japan and Canada. She also received the “Grand Prix Painter of the overseas” in Korea in 2008, the Order of Cultural Merit in 2010 from the President of Korea, and in 2017 the cultural prize France-Korea in Paris.

She thought it would be very important to be able to exhibit “Lumieres du monde” during the 50th anniversary of Auroville to share with all the nations of the world her work about light.

It is the light, she said, which is the sublime life force and the principal guide of her work.

When she was 23, she left Seoul for Paris. That was in 1961 when Paris was for all artists the Mecca of the world. Lately she has been residing in Ardeche, an area of France which still remains wild and where she finds the spiritual energy necessary to produce her art pieces.
With a background of Zen Buddhism, she strives to express the essence of herself and the essence of all things.

The beginning of her journey is more Carravagesque, as she is fascinated with the work of light and shadow. But she opted very quickly for the search of her own light.

All the 42 pieces exhibited in Centre d’Art Citadines are a reflection of this quest and the desire to diffuse it to others. All pieces are painted on the very delicate “papier de murier”, famous for its property of letting the color transpire through the other side. The result is the creation of a recto verso piece that she enriched with more colours. This technique she admits comes from her Korean ancestors, where a color was put into the back of the painting to unify and enrich the support and background.

This exhibition, work of 10 years, bathes in the tones of blue extracted from an indigenous plant, another one of her Korean influences. They are all extremely luminous, and the quality of the materials gives them an indisputable elegance.

“Lumieres du monde” is not only an allegory of spiritual light, it is also based on Korean calligraphy. She explains that you can write Korean with only 5 symbols which are for her the essence of spirituality. Same with Chi Qong, one of her other daily practices, which is according to her another calligraphy in space and helps define her art style.

It is with a mixture of pride and humility that this Korean/French artist is offering to Auroville and to all people looking for their authentic self what she calls “the acquisition of a life time”, ……her lights of the world.
May this intent enlighten us all and may you all get great pleasure from the refined, colourful, meditative and elegant work of Bang Hai Ja.

Chana Corinne Devor for AVArtService

Bang Hai Ja
Lumieres du monde
Lights of the world
Centre d’Art, Citadines
Open daily 2:30 to 5:30 until 15 February