Choi Min-Hwa

b. 1954. Lives and works in Seoul. Choi Min Hwa graduated from Hongik University’s College of Fine Arts. Since his first solo exhibition Wild Grass in 1983, Choi has held over 20 solo exhibitions and participated in about 100 joint exhibitions both in Korea and abroad. Currently, he is preparing for a solo exhibition that experiments with traditional styles under the title of “Joseon Dynasty’s Style in the Truest Sense.”

How Could One Ignore the Will of the Heaven in This Merciless and Punitive World All the Miserable People of the World Revere the Heaven and Yield to the Heaven’s Will, 1989
Oil on canvas, 138×290 cm
“How could one ignore the will of the heaven in this merciless and punitive world all the miserable people of the world revere the heaven and yield to the heaven’s will?”
The painting materializes the lyrics of a hymn in the scriptures of Cheondogyo,* a religion based on the Donghak** movement. The work references research on Oh Yoon’s woodcut prints, which was one of the studies to explore traditional formalism, one of the main interests of Minjung art in the 1980s. It might even be possible to replace the title of the work with Donghak. [Choi Min Hwa]
* Cheondogyo (Religion of the Heavenly Way) established its doctrines and organization in 1905 when Son Byeong-hui declared its name to become Cheondogyo, changing it from Donghak. The doctrine of the religion was Innaechon (人乃天), meaning “humans are heaven.”
** Donghak is a religious movement established in 1806 by Su-un Choi Je-woo. It was developed by Haewol Choi Si-hyung, the second generation leader. As the religion grew, it assimilated folk beliefs, Confucianism and Taoism. Supporters of Donghak were mainly peasants and local elites. Donghak progressed to have characteristics of a religious movement, community movement and anti-foreign movement, which aimed to abolish the extreme exploitation of peasants in the late Joseon Dynasty. Later, the struggle caused by Donghak developed into the Gabo Peasant War of 1894, which initiated the First Sino-Japanese War.