We are called at certain moments to comfort people who are enduring some trauma. Many of us don’t know how to react in such situations, but others do. In the first place, they just show up. They provide a ministry of presence. Next, they don’t compare. The sensitive person understands that each person’s ordeal is unique and should not be compared to anyone else’s. Next, they do the practical things–making lunch, dusting the room, washing the towels. Finally, they don’t try to minimize what is going on. They don’t attempt to reassure with false, saccharine sentiments. They don’t say that the pain is all for the best. They don’t search for silver linings. They do what wise souls do in the presence of tragedy and trauma. They practice a passive activism. They don’t bustle about trying to solve something that cannot be solved. The sensitive person grants the sufferer the dignity of her own process. She lets the sufferer define the meaning of what is going on. She just sits simply through the nights of pain and darkness, being practical, human, simple, and direct.
The mental reactions of the inmates of a concentration camp must seem more to us than the mere expression of certain physical and sociological conditions. Even though conditions such as lack of sleep, insufficient food and various mental stresses may suggest that the inmates were bound to react in certain ways, in the final analysis it becomes clear that the sort of person the prisoner became was the result of an inner decision, and not the result of camp influences alone. Fundamentally, therefore, any man can, even under such circumstances, decide what shall become of him-mentally and spiritually. He may retain his human dignity even in a concentration camp.
― Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
Liberation of Mauthausen, Public Domain Image via US Army
If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music, sweep streets like Leontyne Price sings before the Metropolitan Opera. Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: “Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well.”
―Martin Luther King, Jr, “What is Your Life’s Blueprint?”
Sun-Hyuk Kim makes sculptures that mimic roots and explore the meaning of being human, imbuing humanity and nature with dignity.
The Way to Happiness II
It is important to treat our roots and the roots of others with respect. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in learning and comprehension that we forget dignity and empathy. Art can help us by providing a mirror so that we may examine what lies inside of us without dissecting ourselves and those we hope to understand. We do not have to lay ourselves bare and open to the world in order to explore our inner selves, although some of us will choose to do so.
Naked Portrait 1
The Way to Happiness IV
I make a constant effort to achieve my dream in the present. I want to say through my artwork what [the] human being is in the natural world. Everyday, anywhere I [am I] realize that we are so little compare[d] to the works of God. So I seek the smallest artist under the sky.
Naked Portrait Number 2
Sun-Hyuk Kim received a Master’s Degree from the University of Seoul in 2011 and has already had two solo exhibitions, Drawn by Lifeand Simple Truth as well as many group exhibitions. His work combines imagination, gentleness and whimsy that communicates easily without words of explanation. The deep reverence underlying his work allows him to communicate about things of delicate and sensitive nature, such as aspiration, fear and discontent. It is his goal to eliminate the artificial modern concept of man as separate from nature.
I hope you enjoy his beautiful and perceptive work as much as I do.
The Way to Happiness
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