By Andy Hyun (Culture editor)
Artist Sion Khan (Bae Hee-kwon in Korean name) stands out from other artists in Korea and around the world in the fact that he has drawn the faces of leaders of the United States and many other countries of the world, including international personalities as well as Korean celebrities.
Artist Khan is also well known for his successful recovery of health from the terminal stage of gastric cancer by drawing smiling faces of all the different countries around the world as well as in Korea.
His works are in ink and color, which are strangely harmonized in the eyes of many art critics.
“The energy made by his brush has the power to brighten and clear the faces of people who are tired of life” is the comment commonly shared among many art critics.
At one time in the past, Artist Khan had his exhibition entitled “Painting a Million Faces for Peace” held at the 'Hand-made Korea Art Fair' at the Gangnam COEX in Seoul.
Artist Khan is known among some Korean artists and friends of his as “A living specimen of human victory overcoming the moments of absolute despair in the fight against gastric cancer, where he overcame death through painting and meditation.”
In the art world of Khan, the faces of 50,000 persons, mentioned afore, give courage and hope to people in distress with their brightly smiling faces.
In this effort, Artist Khan is promoting peace for humanity, especially the bright faces of Koreans in harmony with the world, and the bright faces of all the countries of the world in harmony with Koreans.
Here are excerpts from his view of art, life and the world:
A man’s face is a vessel that holds the soul of a person and to draw a face is to draw the will and aspiration contained in the face of the person.
Drawing is also to join in God's work to impart splendid beauty and eternal joy to humans. Since its prerequisite is peace, all my artistic actions are a part of the peace movement.
The most important thing for me in doing this great work is my own spiritual and physical aspects. I offer a daily prayer, meditation, and keep faith that helps me feel sublime.
“The Million-Person Face Drawing Project for Peace” is well known in the art circles in Korea.
It is a project that is carried out with the intention of integrating the soul and spirit of mankind into one place to change the collective intelligence and collective consciousness of mankind for peace.
It is a superhuman and long-lasting project to remind all mankind that peace is the purpose of survival and to paint the entire human race.
In 2003, Khan was diagnosed with a stage-4 stomach cancer and spent time reflecting on life at the moment of desperation, dreaming a dream while praying to God at the hospital, and then pushing for the project.
It began with the intention of delivering a peace message by drawing faces for peace for the change of human collective consciousness and collective intelligence after having a dream in which he saw the earth and the countries with nuclear bombs simultaneously bursting their nuclear weapons and the earth being exploded and collapsing.
It is a project to awaken the "collective unconsciousness" of peace inherent in humans.
In a group, group unconsciousness spreads when a particular action or consciousness reaches a critical level, or when it is potential, its behavior and consciousness spread to all group members by the effect of reaching that critical level.
Instinctively embedded unconsciousness is instinctively informed and acted upon without learning or excavation.
The Peace Face Drawing Project is therefore a challenge to draw with a goal of one million critical figures.
The name, Sion Khan, is a combination of SION (Christian utopia Sion), which emphasizes group and social development, and KHAN (a concept of Oriental thought of nobleman that emphasizes the completion of individual character and mental world).
The Western and Eastern ideas ultimately mean that the conflict between culture and civilization, which is based on human happiness and peace, should stop and achieve world peace through harmony and balance.
Major exhibitions of Artist Sion Khan:
1990: 1st Individual (Gyeongbokgung Station Museum - Seoul)
1993: 2nd Solo Exhibition (New World Gallery in Seoul)
1994: 3rd Solo Exhibition (Contemporary Art Gallery - Seoul)
2nd Invitational (Dae Gallery - Seoul, Bitgoeul Gallery - Guangzhou)
1996: 6th Solo Exhibition (Art and Design Gallery - Seoul, Insa-dong)
1997: 2nd Invitational Exhibition (Co Gallery, Guangzhou)
9th Individual (Yoo Gallery in Cheongdang-dong, Seoul), 10th Individual (After Gallery - Seoul, Insa-dong)
1999: 11th Solo Exhibition (Contemporary Art Gallery - Seoul, Hyundai Department Store), 12th Solo Exhibition (Gallery Ideas - Seoul
The 13th solo exhibition (Yale Art Gallery - Seoul Apgujeong-dong, Seoul)
2003: 14th Solo Exhibition on “Independence Fighters Premarital” at Insa Art Plaza - Seoul, Insa-dong). 15th individual (105-member independent book publishing commemorative souls of the projection I - West Lake Gallery - Seoul, Insa-dong, Seoul). Faust, sketch of a new genre in earnest balhyeondoem.
The 16th Solo Exhibition (Geurimjeon world peace, the West Lake Gallery - Seoul, Insa-dong).
2006: One million faces for peace, face painting project I (Gak Gallery in Insa-dong, Seoul).
2007: One Million Faces for Peace, face painting exhibition (Myeong-dong, Seoul Gallery)
2008: 20 times, published Sihwajip Memorial Exhibition (Seoul, Insa-dong Insa Art Plaza), 21 times exhibition (Insa Gallery, Seoul), 22 times exhibition (Seoul Apgujeong Yale Art Gallery)
2009: 23rd Seoul Open Art Fair (KOEX, Seoul).
2011: 24th Solo Exhibition (Gwangju Mudeung Gallery, Korea), 25th Solo Exhibition (Seoul, Korea, Insa-dong GAK Gallery)
2012: 26th Welbeing Art Solo Exhibition (Seoul, Korea, Insa Art Plaza Gallery), 27th “One Million Faces for Peace” Solo Exhibition (Gwangju Art Center).
2013: “One Million Faces for Peace” Solo Exhibition (Gwangju Station Art Center)
Brief history for team events:
1989: Space experiment exhibition through graphic perspective (Gwanhun Art Gallery- Insa-dong, Seoul)
1991: Cho Mi-hoe exhibition (Seoul Gallery-Seoul), Independent exhibition (Gwacheon National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea)
1992: Mokwoo-hoe exhibition (Gwacheon National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea)
1993: Invitation exhibition of noticed artist (Deukwon Gallery- Insa-dong, Seoul). New generation small picture, rising artist exhibition (Hyundae Art Gallery- Hyundae Department, Seoul). Art invitation exhibition with music and dance (invitation of senior 100 artists including Paik Namjun Hangaram Art Museum, Seoul Arts Center)
1995: Invitational exhibition of 4 young artists (Seogyeong Gallery, Insa-dong, Seoul), Korean youth art exhibition (Gongpyeong Art Center- Insa-dong, Seoul), Korea Fine Arts Association (Hangaram Art Gallery, Korea Arts Center).
1996: Axis establishment exhibition of Korea Art Youth Association (Munhwa-Ilbo Gallery- Seoul), Cho Mi-hoe exhibition (Lotte Art Gallery-Seoul), Environmental art festival (Korea Art Youth Association planning, Lotte Art Museum- Seoul)
1997: Environmental art festival (Korea Art Youth Association planning, Gongpyung Art Center, Insa-dong, Seoul). Environmental art festival, establishment award of Minister in Ministry of Environment. Beautiful feature exhibition (Dongju Gallery- Seoul). International art festival of Korea Art Youth Association (Olympic Park- Seoul)
1999: Organized cultural forum at Insa-dong.
2000: New millennium new spirit and material exhibition (Insa cultural forum planning, Deokwon Gallery- Insa-dong, Seoul). Playing exhibition with jam (Insa cultural forum planning, poet school Gallery)
2009: Artistic Copyright Center invitational exhibition of Seoul Art Museum at Insa-dong
Performance art career:
1996: Environmental art festival, Entropy (Lotte World, Seoul)
1898: Ansan Jaengwuigol performance art festival
1999: Private exhibition performance (love in not guilty- Yihoo Gallery, Seoul). International NGO open performance (Dreaming paradise- Olympic gymnastics stadium),
2001: Private exhibition performance (Mother lies on the sea- Yale Art Museum, Seoul)
2004: Desire performance of peaceful unification- Insa-dong, Seoul. Peace memorial performance of Hiroshima, Japan.
2005: Dokdo Love performance (in front of Japanese Embassy in Seoul)
2006: Olympics peaceful aspiration performance (Seoul Olympic Park). German nationwide tour performance for peace aspiration. Japan nationwide tour performance for peace aspiration
2007: Geochang human right performance human, earth and man (Geochang). Truth victory performance square in front of Gwanghwamun).
2008: Brethren love performance at the Incheon Port dispatching fertilizer to North Korea). Nation’s sole performance (Independent Hall). Besides, many exhibitions and performances.
2010 Gwangju Biennale 10,000 Live Republic Art Project Progression.
2012: Hand Art Korea Fair (KOEX, Seoul)
105 Soles of Independence Fighters (Myungsang Publishing), Poem and picture collection “God’s Love”
Presently, a member of the Korea Arts Association, chairman of Korea Art Youth Association, chairman of street artists at Insa-dong, Seoul.
2012: 26th Sion Khan Well-being Art Exhibition (Insa Art Plaza Gallery, Seoul). The 27th Gwangju Citizens Face painting exhibition.
2013: 28th Ten Thousand Faces Painting Exhibition at the Gwangju Station gallery.
2014: 29th Peace Face Exhibition (Seoul, Yongin and Peace Gallery).
2015: 30th Ten Thousand Faces Painting Exhibition (Gwangju Station Gallery). 31st Ten Thousand Faces Painting Exhibition at the KBS Gallery.
2016: 32nd Fool’s Faces Exhibition (Saenggak Sangja Gallery in Gwangju).
2019: 33rd Exhibition at the KBS Media Art Center and BHS Gallery.