Spend 2022 in Kyung-Hwa Yu’s Sacred Forests

This holiday season, we’re excited to introduce Pomegranate, a publishing and printing company that offers its customers “art you can bring home.” In celebration of Pomegranate’s commitment to inclusivity, we’re excited to spotlight some of the brilliant women artists in their catalogue. Read more about Pomegranate below.

When I was fifteen years old, I visited Sendai (Japan) as an exchange student.  We took an excursion to Matsushima Bay: a famous spot surrounded by ancient temples. Its waters are filled with two hundred and sixty islands of varying shapes and sizes. Some are as small as a kitchen table while others are as large as a football field.

The word “Matsushima” means pine tree island in Japanese. And when one sees this landscape, this isn’t surprising.  On each of these islands, no matter the size, gnarled pines zig-zag out of the rocky crags toward the sky.

When I was fifteen those rocky islands taught me something about my teenage self.  Somehow looking at that landscape of disparate, rocky islands healed me.

That’s why, when I saw the gnarled pines featured in Korean artist Kyung-Hwa Yu’s art and then learned about her artistic process of transferring her own emotions into depicting landscapes, I was immediately transfixed.

Yu’s stunning work is featured alongside other talented women artists in the 2022 Pomegranate calendar line.

Yu is a modern artist (1983–2020) whose soft-hued silhouetted pine trees and brightly colored paintings that contrast dusty poppies against jagged trees and deep blue sky speak for themselves; however, when you look at her work you can’t help but be reminded of the ancient Japanese artist, Hokusai.

Hokusai was known for how he transformed the art of painting during his era by shifting the focus from human portraits to landscapes. He let the drama of the natural world depict the complexity of human lives.

Like Hokusai, Yu used landscapes and especially the imagery of trees to communicate the human experience. The gnarled pines and weeping willows in her work represent strength in the face of adversity.

Yu, who suffered from a physical disability found a way to transform the pain she felt in her body through painting. As she once said, “I’ve lived all my life with my physical disability which caused me a lot of pain and suffering . . . I learned to love myself through drawing,”

Twelve of Yu’s most memorable paintings are found in Pomegranate’s 2022 calendar. Month by month they will draw you into their haunted landscapes where pain and suffering are transformed into beauty.

Even the titles of her paintings draw you in: “Pine Conversation” and “Sky Tears” are two that showcase her use of metaphor. To Yu, pine trees not only represent courage and strength in the face of the adversity life throws at us, but they also embody our own battle through that adversity.

Kyung-Hwa Yu used the symbolism of trees to transform her suffering into beauty. Though she died in 2020, her conversations with nature live on in her paintings. Perhaps her work will take you on a journey to a natural landscape that once defined a transformative time in your life as her paintings transported me back to the rocky, pine tree islands of Matsushima Bay in Japan.

The 2022 Kyung-Hwa Yu Calendar Sacred Grove: The Art of Kyung-Hwa Yu 2022 Wall Calendar is available for purchase on Pomegranate.com. Check it out!

Remember: When you order directly from Pomegranate, the artists receive a larger percentage of sales.

© Iris Jamahl Dunkle (11/28/21) Special for FF2 Media.


The Pomegranate Story.

See more of Kyung-Hwa Yu’s work on her Facebook page.

Follow this link to learn more about Japanese painter Katsushika Hokusai (best known for his highly-influential series 36 Views of Mount Fuji).

Click HERE to see Pomegranate’s complete set of 2022 Kyung-Hwa Yu items (including note cards & holiday cards).


Images from Pomegranate’s 2022 Kyung-Hwa Yu calendar have been provided by Pomegranate and are used here by FF2 Media with their permission. All Rights Reserved by Pomegranate.

Tags: 36 Views of Mount Fuji, Hokusai, Iris Dunkle, Iris Jamahl Dunkle, Katsushika Hokusai, Korean Artists, Kyung-Hwa Yu, Painting, PomCom, Pomegranate Calendars

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Iris Jamahl Dunkle is an award-winning literary biographer, essayist, and poet who lives in Northern California. She wrote the first full-length biography on Charmian London, Jack London's wife, Charmian Kittredge London: Trailblazer, Author, Adventurer (University of Oklahoma Press, 2020). Her fourth collection of poems, West : Fire : Archive was published by The Center for Literary Publishing in 2021. Dunkle teaches at Napa Valley College and is the Poetry and Translation Director of the Napa Valley Writers' Conference and is currently writing a full length biography of the author Sanora Babb.
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