The Journey of Dust (먼지의 여행)

She traveled for 14 months without money, wrote a hand-drawing traveling essay book called ‘Journey of Dust,’ and then decided to work seriously in the field of painting… 3 years later we catch up with Shinhe at her first solo exhibition.

A Sociecity Film Production by Suhee Kang and Patrick Lydon
Filmed at Gallery M in Seoul, South Korea

After graduating from university, she traveled for 14 months without money, wrote a hand-drawing traveling essay book called ‘Journey of Dust,’ decided to work seriously in the field of painting, and 3 years later had her first solo exhibition.

…if I believed in someone’s good will at heart, that I would get back kindness and goodness from them.

The heroine of this story is Munji Shinhe – Munji meaning dust. We caught up with Shinhe recently at her gallery opening in Seoul’s Insadong neighborhood, where we learned a bit more about her traveling experiences, energetic art works, hopeful attitude towards life.

Traveling Without Money

When I graduated from university, I had this feeling that everything I did was like dust, so like the dust, I traveled with the wind, to Japan, India, Nepal, Thailand, and China, all without money. Many people told me “Shinhe, it’s impossible to travel without money” but my thought was that, if I believed in someone’s good will at heart, that I would get back kindness and goodness from them. On the other hand, if I doubted, or feared for my safety, I would get back such a feeling from the world. In the end, the love and positive feeling within me are like mirror. To follow this line of thinking means that I can essentially create my own world. If I already have my own richness in my heart, and I already feel comfortable by myself, then it does not matter what I do. Coming back from this journey, it was really not easy to live among others in Korea.

Just Being, Like Dust

When I returned, I had hoped to do my own art work, but I thought I was unable to partake in art creation fully because of several impediments. Above all, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to express in my art. Through my traveling I was inspired, and thought about my drawing deeply; I practiced listening to my heart, my inner voice. Whatever I did, I tried to follow the feeling from my heart, not from my head. With this as guidance, when I draw I do it instinctively, with my inner feeling.

The hugging arms in drawings, mean the feeling of just “being,” of hugging my inner elements and doing so without any judgement. This is the state of being comfortable, like being at rest. And the empty cup means that this space which seems full, is actually an empty space. The experiences of variety and abundance seem excited and lively, but essentially they are really only just images, empty.

Communication Through Drawing

I hope people who see my drawings can be at rest, not in a physical sense, but one of mental relaxation. Without any standard or judgement, there is a feeling, a state of being comfortable; I’d like to share that feeling. I try be in this state myself, then express these kinds of feelings, then people can understand what I felt in creating the drawings.

I was given an interesting idea through the experience of drawing… as people, we want to get some new feelings from traveling, feelings like freedom, like joyfulness, etc… and people want to discover new things, too. But in drawing, I realized that I can connect with the same feelings which I would otherwise only get from traveling. So instead of traveling, I feel this through the act of drawing. So I feel okay not to go to travel anymore.

Traveling was a flow, and I think it was very necessary progression. Now I think I want to travel in a completely different way. I’ll bring my drawings, talk about them with people. I feel these drawings are the way of communication, and also good friends of mine. In the future, I would like to communicate about my drawings with many people, and I hope to explore collaborations for animation, stage design, and music video.

More about Shinhe…

Visit Shinhe’s blog: 

and find her on Facebook: