A New Brunswick woman is using her art to share her Korean culture, and it’s helping her overcome some of the struggles she’s faced in becoming a new Canadian.
Riverview, N.B. artist Ji Hyang Ryu officially became a Canadian citizen four years ago. But she’s lived in Canada with her husband and her kids for the past nine years.
Ji says she loves her life in Canada and most people have been kind and welcoming, But being an immigrant, she said, can be hard, even after all these years.
“One person a day says, ‘go back to your country.’ Then where do I go? This is my country,” she said.
To deal with the stress of struggling with acceptance, she’s turned to her art for comfort.
“When I paint, I feel better,” said Ji.
She’s also decided to use her art to build bridges and share a piece of herself and her Korean culture with others through her works.
Using herself as a model, Ji has started to incorporate images that represent her culture into her works and people have embraced it.
“I use it in my art and they loved it,” she said.
Her beautiful images are translating into beautiful moments.
“The more I do it, people respond,” said Ji. “I get like 300 friend request per day.”
Meanwhile, people are embracing Ji and her work and she’s started teaching art classes in her local community.
“I can make a mistake, language-wise, but they respect me and they follow my instructions and everybody is happy,” said Ji.
Ji said she has found acceptance through her art. Her goal is to keep on painting while continuing to embracing life with her family in Canada.
“I never paid attention to my traditions before, I tried to get away from it. But since coming here, I think it’s beautiful,” she said.