Born in South Korea in 1959, Shin Jaedon came to Australia in 2007, after graduating from RMIT University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts has spent his time between Seoul and Melbourne presenting regular exhibitions in both cities.
The bulk of Shin Jaedon’s work comprises figurative paintings of people. His paintings express compassion for his fellow man, with his innate concern for human life being at the heart of his work. By commenting on the plight of human kind, it can be surmised that his paintings are born out of the same concern for the human condition as motivated his participation in the Korean democracy movements of the 1980s. He is driven by deep compassion for ordinary people who are powerless and never truly free - yet living their lives patiently and stoically as a mere speck at an infinitesimal point in time within the landscape of the long course of history. This is equally true of the subject matter of his paintings as it is of socio-political factors in the Korea nation.
His paintings include a range of commonly seen characters around us and the artist draws our attention to loneliness and isolation found even in the hustle and bustle of modern-day existence. Another aspect of Shin’s work delves into socio-political events involving the Korean people in both North and South Korea. The figures appearing in these paintings represent the characters who played a role in those events who, in the end, are just ordinary people going about their lives but who, by virtue of being at that place at that particular time, were swept up in social and political circumstances and became victims of history. The artist’s work can be a gentle expression of sadness and grief for those affected, and as such pays tribute to the nameless people who live their lives in the harsh shadow of history.
However, regardless of the subject matter, the prime motivation of the artist is to communicate with society through his art. Shin’s current works speak through the past and will continue to speak to and challenge people who encounter his work in the future. Wherever we go, may we go with a modicum of sorrow and feel compassion for one another.
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