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‘Longevity’ by Joungmee Do

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‘Bird neckpiece’ Steel, fine silver, pure gold

In Korean folklore, there are ten symbols of longevity: the sun, mountains, clouds, rock, water, cranes, tortoises, deer, pine tree and immortals’ fungus (pullocho). These symbols are representative of man’s deep desire for happiness in the present world and they appear in folk paintings as decorative motifs.

‘Longevity’ is Melbourne-based Joungmee Do’s response to her exploration of Korean folklore. Her reworking of these auspicious symbols comes in the form of necklaces and brooches. Joungmee’s intricately detailed pieces employ traditional Korean metal inlay techniques (or iybsa) as well as complex etching and metal colouring. The result is work that successfully links contemporary expression with the traditional Korean spiritual and symbolic world.

“As a Korean artist, I have endeavoured to explore the ‘hidden culture’ of my own background. Both the past and the present of this culture are joined in my practice,” says Joungmee. “On another level, I like to think that people can interact with my work as a symbolic medium.”

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‘Neckpiece’ Steel, stainless steel, sterling silver

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‘Tortoise Pendant and Neckpiece’ Steel, fine silver, pure gold, sterling silver

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‘Pine Tree neckpiece’ Steel, stainless steel, fine silver, sterling silver

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‘Blossom neckpiece’ Fine silver, sterling silver, pure gold, steel

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‘Lucky Rabbit brooch’ Steel, fine silver

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‘Lucky Rabbit brooch’ Steel, fine silver, pure gold

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‘Brooch’ Steel, fine silver, pure gold

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‘Brooch’ Steel, fine silver, sterling silver, pure gold