Standing tall: Ji-Hye Kim’s show at Tashkeel is an ode to the mountain - GulfToday

Standing tall: Ji-Hye Kim’s show at Tashkeel is an ode to the mountain


An artwork from Ji-Hye Kim’s show.

Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer

Tashkeel, one of the leading UAE-based art and design incubators, is currently presenting Summits of Solitude: Narratives in Nature, a solo exhibition by Ji-Hye Kim, a Emirates-based South Korean artist (Feb.6 - Mar.19, Tashkeel at FN Designs, Alserkal Avenue). Kim is a graduate of Tashkeel’s Critical Practice Programme (CPP). Part of Tashkeel's 2024 Winter Season, the exhibition is the artist’s first solo presentation in Dubai. It attempts to “capture the vibrancy and texture of the natural world” through diverse printmaking techniques. Through meticulous layers of silkscreen printing which she produced by hand at Tashkeel, Kim artistically channels the geological processes of piling and sedimentation. The process mirrors the ever-shifting features of mountains and the human psyche alike. Kim weaves together emotions and compares human life and nature, through photography, printmaking and collage. In doing so, she evokes a sense of intimacy and connection with the earth and humanity and wants to ignite a sense of stewardship towards the natural world.

At the heart of her practice is a deep reverence for nature, particularly the majestic mountain landscapes she encounters, explores and meditates in. A never-failing inspiration is her mother, Ho-eun Cha, who recently passed on and was “the mountain under her feet.” In the exhibition, Kim visually explores personal reflections regarding her mother. Sitting by her mother’s side was “like feeling she was walking by the shade of a mountain,” she says. Summits is an installation showing the grandeur of mountains while creating a visual odyssey that travels across time and recollections. It delivers immersive, 360-degree experiences, forcing visitors to turn from being passive spectators to active participants. The interactivity blurs the lines between viewer and artist, since it invites all to share the journey of artistic execution. The show plunges into the physical and symbolic strength of mountains, juxtaposing their evergreen facades with the fragile, intricate layers beneath the surface that cause movement amidst stillness. Kim’s installation is the edge of an intimate dialogue with mountains and their environments.

Commenting on the exhibition, she said: “In 'Summits of Solitude: Narratives in Nature,' I aimed to forge a profound connection between viewers and the intricate stories embedded within mountains. Tashkeel has provided an invaluable platform, allowing me to explore the diverse landscapes of the UAE, South Korea, South Africa, the UK, and Jordan. The exhibition delves into the layered essence of mountains, symbolising the complexities of individual narratives. Tashkeel's support has been instrumental in my artistic journey, fostering an environment where nature, self-identity and the transformative power of art, converge.

“The CPP is a lifeline for emerging artists like myself, offering practical guidance for navigating the art world. Special gratitude is due to Sheikha Lateefa bint Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the visionary force behind Tashkeel. Sheikha Lateefa, your ability to understand and broaden my artistic perspective has been both an honour and a challenge that propelled my growth. The specific guidance and innovative approach you introduced me to have left a lasting imprint on my practice.” Sheikha Lateefa said that “as we embark on this journey of exploration and discovery, may we find solace in the shared stories that bind us together, weaving a tapestry of belonging amidst the rocky terrain of existence.” Kim is a graduate of Hongik University, Seoul, and the recipient of an MA from Camberwell College, London. She has lived in the UAE since 2007. Her artwork, shortlisted for the Emirati Futurism Award - Fine Art, has been featured in various solo and group exhibitions across the UAE. She is the 18th practitioner to complete CPP, where she was mentored by Dubai-based artist and academic, Isaac Sullivan.

Ji-Hye Kim is a South Korean artist based in the UAE.

Tashkeel is an incubator of visual art and design and a commercial consultancy established in the United Arab Emirates. Founded in Dubai in 2008 by Sheikha Lateefa bint Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, its facilities are aimed at enabling production, experimentation and discourse. Tashkeel’s annual programme of training, residencies, workshops, talks, exhibitions, international collaborations and publications, strives to further practitioner development, public engagement and lifelong learning. By nurturing the growth of contemporary art and design, it seeks to empower the country's ever growing creative and cultural industries.

Tashkeel, besides running art spaces, offers commercial services such as consultancy, ranging from advisory, sales, design and production services to projects for a wide range of clients; training for the development and delivery of art-based learning via cultural education for public and private sectors; membership that provides access for the creative community to facilities and studios for research, experimentation, creation and collaboration; printing and cutting services, including laser-cutting, fine art/photography and risograph printing; and retail, including selling UAE-made art and design products instore and online as well as through a nationwide network of partners.

Tashkeel’s incubator initiatives include Tanween, which takes a cohort of UAE-based designers through a one-year skills development programme, guiding a product inspired by the UAE from concept to completion; critical practice, which invites visual artists to embark on a one-year skills development programme of studio practice, mentorship and training, culminating in a major solo presentation; residencies at Tashkeel or overseas, ranging in duration and often in partnership with international partners; Make Works UAE, an online platform connecting creatives and fabricators and presenting designers and artists accurate and efficient access to the UAE’s manufacturing sector; exhibitions and fairs to highlight innovation and excellence; and growing an audience for art and design in the UAE.


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