Chia Hsun Yuan, known as Chumik, is an interdisciplinary artist living and working in Taipei. She is a practitioner of Dharma in the Theravada tradition and her work is an ongoing visual contemplation of its core principles of interbeing (meaning everything is interwoven with something else) and universal love. Inspired by Indian miniature paintings and deeply rooted in the cultural heritage of Chinese art, she creates delicate, dreamlike paintings that aim to provide a meeting place of the spiritual and mundane, not necessarily a shrine, but a playground where souls may find their way of connection with Nature and their inner self.
Chumik’s art journey began in 2010 when she studied New Media at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Since 2014, she has become involved in social enterprises working with nomad communities in Eastern Tibet. This experience has led to a paradigm shift in her practice, one that is grounded in respect and appreciation for the profound beauty and fragility of Nature. In order to learn the art of miniature paintings, she traveled to India to train under the tutelage of master painter Ramu Ramdev and was awarded an apprenticeship (2017-2019) for demonstrating outstanding work. Chumik’s cross-cultural perspective and familiarity with both traditional and contemporary practices have contributed to the rich, layered approach in her oeuvre.
Where water flows, life exists. In the mountainous highlands, this is not just a philosophical musing, but a matter of day-to-day survival. At altitudes of more than 3000 meters above the sea level, resources are scarce. However, life is content. People of this region live in harmony with the natural world, giving and taking back in everlasting cycles of birth and death, with self-subsistence grounded in deep reverence and gratitude for the nourishment that Nature provides.
The ‘Ripples’ series of paintings originate from my experience in different regions of the Himalayas. Surrounded by nature in its pristine beauty, one becomes more acutely aware of what is beyond existence of the self. The overarching question however is, how can such values be re-introduced to other parts of the world? How can a shift occur in one’s mind if not physically placed within the sublime?
I use natural pigments and metal leaf to depict various forms of water: waves, clouds, currents and undertow, riptides and backwaters. For me, the simplicity of line movement captures a feeling of awe for transient beauty, while the lexicon of water itself invites clear connections between earth and spirituality, between the constant force of change and mankind’s pursuit of transcendence. I also juxtaposed my drawings with dried plants subject to decay; their ephemerality suggests how beauty can exist even in a fragile state. These works are not an attempt to provide any answers, but through playful reconfiguration of forms and spatial relationships, I invite viewers to explore their place in relation to worlds above and below.