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Meet Woo Jin Joo The Hari Art Prize 2022 Runner-Up

The Hari Art Prize, in collaboration with A Space For Art is poised to become an integral part of The Hari London’s annual rolling art programme, celebrating the global roster of artistic talent attracted to London.

In 2022, from a list of over 400 applicants, a shortlist of 17 artists were chosen by an elite panel of judges overseen by Dr. Aron Harilela, CEO and Chairman of Harilela Hotels Ltd. The three finalists were then announced at a VIP award event at The Hari on 17 November 2022, including runner-up Woo Jin Joo!

Read all about her below…

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am a mixed media artist specialising in soft sculpture and textiles. I am currently based in East London, but originally from Seoul, Korea and I completed my postgraduate studies last year at the Royal College of Art.

My work investigates the relationship we have with the objects in our daily lives in today’s society. By working with found or old objects that are often overlooked or easily disregarded, I seek to re-enchant and re-narrate stories around everyday objects, and present a different vantage point that challenges our current perception that sees objects and the nature around us as an infinite and limitless resource.

Tell us about your overall experience of The Hari Art Prize?

I heard about the award on A-N artist information space, and thought it was a fresh and compelling competition to enter, having the opportunity to showcase my work at a prestigious hotel and potentially in Hong Kong as well. When I started researching the award and The Hari, I was also impressed with Hari’s environmental and social sustainability commitment, which made me believe that this opportunity was a great fit for my practice focusing on addressing material sustainability. I felt that it was important to enter opportunities as such that not only celebrate emerging artists, but also where the host organisation’s commitments coincide with my own passion.

My overall experience participating in The Hari Art Prize has been exciting and rewarding. When I first went to see the shortlisted artworks displayed, I was really impressed by how the diverse works all came together and set so well within the space. During the award ceremony, the atmosphere felt very welcoming and well thought out, and upon the announcement of the winner and finalists, it felt especially rewarding to hear the judges’ thoughts and to know that my work was well understood and appreciated by the judges.

What is the story behind your winning piece?

The piece is titled A Long Long Time Ago, and it is part of my current and ongoing Dokkaebi series. Dokkaebis are Korean mythological creatures that are told to have formed from spiritual possessions of inanimate objects. Inspired by this mythology, I have been creating a series of sculptures from found and old materials, exploring alternative narratives of objects beyond their consumerist value. As part of the series, the piece’s title A Long Long Time Ago is meant to suggest an opening to a new story that values objects in a different way.

Are you looking forward to becoming an ‘Artist in Residence’ at The Hari?

Yes, I am really excited about the upcoming artist in residency! I believe it will be a valuable time to separate myself from my usual environment and allow new ideas and works to emerge, and take inspiration from the constant flow of travellers and the surrounding environment. I do not have set ideas yet for my next pieces, but I do want to use the time at Hari to produce ample new drawings that are also core to my practice.

What are your thoughts on the other pieces shortlisted?

I think it really captures the diversity of emerging artists in London and their talents, the diverse topics and issues addressed ranging from identity, modernity, body politics, and sustainability, as well as the various mediums and ways they are expressed. I think they all address an important issue about our current lived experience and are executed to the highest level. I am really honoured to be exhibiting alongside these artists.

Are there any upcoming projects you want to talk to us about?

I am currently exhibiting at the JGM Gallery in Battersea until 21st January in a group exhibition titled Creature Comforts, and I am currently shortlisted for another award organised by Bow Arts called East London Art Prize.


Would you recommend The Hari Art Prize and encourage others to enter next year? If so, why?

Yes, I would highly recommend other artists to enter next year because it is such a unique opportunity to exhibit your work in a setting outside of gallery space, and for your work to be seen and be judged by an esteemed panel of judges with so much experience and appreciation for talents. Not to mention the generous winner and finalist prize, the support that artists really need these days.

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