In 1990, a serendipitous meeting at Camberwell School of Art united three artists – two hailing from South Korea and one from England. Bonding over their shared passion for art, the trio made a pact that someday they would showcase their collective creativity in a joint exhibition.

Fast forward to 2024, and Bradford District Museums and Galleries are thrilled to announce the inauguration of their much-anticipated exhibition, ‘Within Nature – East and West.’

Running from June 1 to December 1, this captivating display of paintings and works on paper seamlessly weaves together imagery from two distinct cultures, all centred around a common theme: the natural world.

Seoul-based artists JongHa Park and his wife, Sungsil Park, will present a mesmerizing collection of paintings sourced from their homeland, alongside specially crafted pieces for this exhibition. Joining them is Bridget Tempest, an artist residing in Yorkshire, contributing a series of works on paper.

The exhibition, spanning both floors of the picturesque Bracewell-Smith Hall at Bradford Council’s Cliffe Castle Museum in Keighley, promises a visual journey through artistic interpretations of nature from both Eastern and Western perspectives.

JongHa Park, reflecting on his art, conveyed, “My paintings express thoughts and feelings about the values and perceptions of what is nature and who are humans? The Eastern view of nature is that nature and humans are one, expressed differently, rather than being separated into different natural orders and beings.”

Artist JongHa Park said: “My paintings express thoughts and feelings about the values and perceptions of what is nature and who are humans? I am interested in Taoism and Ki theory, which are Eastern natural philosophies, and I am also inspired by the Book of Genesis in the Bible. The important thing is ‘here and now’ and the idea that all things are connected by Ki (energy). The Eastern view of nature is that nature and humans are one, expressed differently, rather than being separated into different natural orders and beings.”

Artist SungSil Park said: “My paintings express my thoughts about the life of all beings, its circulation, change, and order, and ideas from Eastern Zen Buddhist philosophy and eco-centered ideology that nature and humans have one source. All the animals, plants, and various living things that I encounter in my daily life, and the environment that makes them exist; the mountains and fields, are my subject. In other words, I feel that everyday life is already a miracle and my work has always been to paint what I see in a realistic style.”

Bridget Tempest lives in her studio above Skipton. Her images are taken from her immediate surroundings and reflect her relationship with the land and her concerns about climate change. She said: “My images are drawn from nature. I work slowly, out in the woods, drawing directly onto large copper etching plates. Slowly, so that I can pay attention to the rhythms of where I am and what I am seeing. Appreciating nature’s harmony, I am dismayed by what we are still doing to the world.”

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Healthy People and Places, said: “We are really excited to be welcoming these three artists for this new exhibition. Exhibitions such as this, as well as being beautiful, allow us to reflect on the similarities and differences between cultures, increasing our understanding of each other. The exhibition also encourages us to think about the climate crisis, with the Parks’ work on the beauty of nature contrasting with and complementing Tempest’s work.”

For more details on the exhibition, visit www.bradfordmuseums.org.