Haein Kim explores the modern women’s psyche

The artist’s debut solo exhibition brings together figurative pieces which draw on her personal experience of “pushing past pain and rolling with the punches”

Australian illustrator and animator Haein Kim has opened her first international solo exhibition at Sierra Metro Gallery in Leith, Edinburgh. Titled Pain 2 Power, the show presents a selection of Kim’s work made specifically for the event.

During a recent stint as the gallery’s first artist-in-residence, the artist produced a mix of large-scale cut outs and a series of drawing experiments. These display Kim’s signature style, characterised by enlarged figurative drawings, vibrant colour palettes and hand-drawn textures.

Top: Bubblegum Birth, 2022; Above: Crocodile Tears, 2023
Snoopy and Martini, 2022

Working commercially for brands such as Uniqlo, WeTransfer and MTV, among others, it is in Kim’s personal practice that her bold, imaginative style truly comes to the fore. Known for her exaggerated characters and expressive features, the illustrations in her portfolio are eye-catching, provocative and carefree.

Speaking recently on these latest creations, Kim said: “I plan on making fun, fresh pieces that explore the modern woman’s psyche – how we want to see ourselves, expressions of emotion, materialism and puppies! I want to represent my WOC sisters and show that we are beautiful.”

You, Your Friend’s Dog and Your Anxiety, 2022
Yee Haw, 2021

Sierra Metro director Janine Matheson praised “Haein’s energy, humour, and fresh depiction of everyday moments and emotions”.

Alongside the exhibition, which forms part of the 2023 Edinburgh Art Festival, Kim will also be collaborating with CodeBase, the UK’s largest technology incubator, to host a Digital Skills 4 Girls workshop. The aim will be to share her knowledge and experience of building a commercial practice, and pass on the skills needed for other young creative women to do the same.

Magic Manifest, 2023
Snakes, 2022

Pain 2 Power is on show at Sierra Metro Gallery, Leith from August 12-27; sierrametro.org