Duk Soon Fwhang: our artist
Our artist, Duk Soon Fwhang, whose art appears in this issue of Compassion, was born in North Korea. Inspired by a family involved in arts and culture, she quickly moved into a world of creativity. Her parents realized that she had a very special talent and taught her to draw and design from original models with pencil and charcoal. She often asked her family members to pose for her. Gradually, she became aware of the fundamentals of representational drawing which led her to experiment with textures and color. Her enthusiasm for drawing and painting grew.
When Duk Soon arrived in the United States in 1952, she pursued independent studies in the Fine Arts. She also attended the Art Students League in New York City. For many years she painted commissioned portraits and worked as a free lance illustrator. Her approach to her paintings and illustrations became more sophisticated in the sense that her work had more meaning than simply line and color. As her style matured, her spirit grew.
In 1992, a Passionist priest recognized the spirituality of her drawings and asked her to illustrate a prayer card, A Mother's Prayer. For Duk Soon this was "the beginning of my road to religious art work. Little by little I was led to our Lord Jesus Christ." She was later asked to design a cover for the book, The Passion of Jesus Christ. At first Duk Soon could not do it. "It's too painful for me to crucify Christ," she said. "I'll have to pray over it." The painting of Christ Crucified on this page is the result of her prayerful experience.
Duk Soon's artistry can also be seen on the website, Bread on the Waters, www.cptryon.org, as well as in many prayer leaflets and children's pamphlets published by Passionist Press.