Soni Kum

Soni Kum is an interdisciplinary artist, dancer, and scholar who was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan as a third generation Korean.

Kum received M.F.A. from California Institute of the Arts in the United States in 2005. Kum received Doctor in Fine Arts from Tokyo University of Arts in 2011, in which she spent one year research period in Seoul National University in South Korea in 2007.

Her artworks have been internationally exhibited and screened at numerous art spaces and film festivals around the world, which include USA, Japan, Korea, Brazil, Denmark, Germany, Philippines, China, Myanmar, Cuba, UK, and Spain. On top of her art and academic career, she teaches yoga and meditation and specializes dancing and teaching Kundalini Tantra Dance. Kundalini Tantra Dance is sacred imprint of dance, newly found on the earth. It is a form of meditation as well as devotional prayer dance.

Kum has recently begun to explore the theme of ritual through performance/ installation works. The aim of her ongoing art project is to transform our perception of the relationship between living and dying in contemporary society. Her recent research theme is on “Reconciliation”; that is, reconciliation between those who were killed and those who killed.

Kum had been based in Seoul, South Korea, teaching as a lecturer since 2011 till spring 2015, in the Universities such as, Yonsei Univeristy, Kyunghee University, and Chungang University, one of the most prominent universities in South Korea.

Kum was awarded as Excellent Lecture Award from Yonsei University in 2012 on the course on “Seeing East Asian Contemporary Society through Film and Art”. Kum was a researcher at Institute of Korea Studies in Yonsei Universtiy in 2012, and Korea Arts and Culture Educational Service in 2008. Since 2006, Kum has been internationally invited to give lectures and artist talks in numerous academic as well as artistic venues, such as universities, museums, galleries, symposiums, and research institute.

Since 2011, Kum begun projects funded by Seoul Cultural Foundation to facilitate a series of workshops for various groups of people who are going through traumatic events in their lives in South Korea. The groups include; North Korean migrant youth, North Korean migrant dancers, Migrant brides and workers from South East Asia, Sexually abused girls and women, Breast Cancer survivors, etc.

Among them, her continuous effort to work with North Korean migrant youth and women has been her primal work since her stay in South Korea since 2011. She conducted a series of healing workshop through art, organizing seminars on the theme of Division and Korean Peninsula, as well as participating peace tour to visit Nagasaki, Japan with North Korean youth in 2012 in collaboration with 34school, alternative school for North Korean Migrant youth.

She has received grants and scholarship from the Pola Art Foundation (Japan), Seoul Cultural Foundation, Seikei University Center for Asia Pacific Studies (Japan), and more.

Kum is a founder and co-director of GANDA Art Center for Women of Asia along with Rosalie Zerrudo of Enigmata Creative Circle from Philippines. GANDA Art Center stands for spreading grassroots art movement for the community of women and children in Asia. GANDA in collaboration with Enigmata Creative Circle has been granted by Japan Foundation, Artist Network Asia (Singapore), and National Commission for Culture and the Arts (Philippines).

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