Joo Young (Grace) Han is one of those extremely talented young women, a rising star in Canadian ceramics. Raised in South Korea, Han graduated with her BFA from Dankook University where she studied traditional Korean ceramics. There she watched the master potter, Joon Hoon Park, while making hundreds of Korean tea bowls, sambal, a day. For seven years, Han worked to perfect her ceramic skills including the making of the large jars for fermented vegetables, the Onngi. In 2011, Han moved to the Canadian prairies. The image above is a still from an upcoming CBC special on Han. In 2016, Han graduated with an MFA from the School of Art, University of Manitoba. There, for two years, she worked tirelessly in her studio asking herself many, many questions. Am I Korean? Am I Canadian? Where is my voice? Her thesis exhibition focused on those binaries as does the photo above.
The Manitoba Arts Council recognized Han’s artistic excellence by awarding her their major grant of $30,000 this past week. It is rare for a ceramic artist to achieve such recognition so early in their career. MAC not the only one, however! Han will be part of the Banff’s Centre’s Clay Revival Residency from June 3-July 7 and she will also have a solo exhibition at Medalta. Well done, Grace.
For a more detailed discussion of Han’s struggle with her identity and the male world of Korean ceramics, see my article in the current issue of New Ceramics, ‘Joo Young Han. One Path, Two Identities, pp 13-15 (2/18).