Art & Exhibition


8 Feb – 1 Apr

The Korean Cultural Centre Australia in partnership with the Traditional Korean Minhwa Centre presents its first exhibition for 2021, ‘MINHWA Today.

Minhwa, Korean folk paintings, mainly painted by the working class in the late Joseon Dynasty (c.1700-1800), contain the way of life and culture of the Korean people, and generally refer to the practicality of decorating the living space or being produced according to national customs.

Minhwa features vibrant colours and unique spatial compositions, and varies in type according to the location and purpose of the decoration such as the Hwacho Yeongmodo(paintings of flowers birds and animals) which were used for wedding ceremonies to celebrate the success of the wedding, the Chaekkori(paintings of books and stationary) conveying the wishes of scholars in their quest to gain more knowledge and wisdom, and the paintings of Magpies and Tigers which were hung on the main door on the first day of the new year.

Featuring 25 modern reinterpreted Korean folk paintings, this exhibition explores the meaning of folk paintings as a unique Korean art genre, reflecting the aesthetic sense and sentiments of Korea. In particular, <Portrait of King Taejo Eojin> by KWON Jungsoon allows visitors to appreciate the splendour of folk paintings by using precious materials such as natural stone and gold on silk, and <Dream-Chaekkado> by KIM Hye Jeong expresses the artist’s desire for wisdom, family well-being and peace, and its golden colour and three-dimensional composition are modern.

‘MINHWA Today’ is the second exhibition of Korean folk paintings at the KCC following the ‘Fortunes within’ held with the Gahoe Museum in 2013. It is a good opportunity for audiences to experience the variety of Korean folk paintings created by the minhwa artists of today.



Participating artists
KWON Jungsoon, KYUNG Jung Pyo, KIM Kyung Nam, KIM Eun Joo, KIM Juim, KIM Hyekyung, KIM Hye Jeong, PARK Myungho, PARK Soon-Ee, SON Choon Ae, SONG Kowoon, AN Eulsoon, AUM Moo Sun, WOO Suk Ja, YOU Mira, LEE Sung Hyun, LEE Sook Mi, Lee Jumi, JANG Sook, JANG Jong Hee, JEON Sungsook, JOUNG Pansu, HAN Jin Hee, HWANG Sook Hee



What is Minhwa ?

Minhwa literally means “painting of the people” or “popular painting”.  Minhwa, Korean folk paintings, portray the simple and unaffected daily lives of ordinary people. An invaluable part of Korea’s cultural heritage, folk paintings illustrate the mythology, religion, and mindset of the Korean people.

Although Minhwa has been recognised as a genre of painting, they have never been fully studied in art history. Because the dates and the artists of Minhwa remain largely unknown, these artworks are seen as being of little value as historical records. Minhwa, however, has been newly interpreted given the unique background of the Joseon Dynasty, and their distinctive beauty has been re-examined.

Minhwa is free from stereotypical drawing of the old classics as nonprofessional painters created most of them. Yet, in Minhwa, which seem to be extremely liberal and free-spirited, there is a fairly consistent structure in composition and method of presentation.

Minhwa not only realistically illustrate the subjects of the painting, but also contain their substantive concepts. In Minhwa, painters depict the objects that are common sights to ordinary people in their life or in nature, the relationship between the objects, and, if necessary, imaginary and mythical objects out of a painter’s imagination and creation.


Hand Book of Korean Art: Folk Painting, Yekyong Publishing Co., 2002
Tales of Korean folk paintings MINHWA, Design House Publishers, Inc., 2005

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