A person stands next to a piece of art on display on a white wall.

Curious to know what others thought of his art piece, Humber College student Jaehyun Han entered it into the League for Innovation’s 2022-2023 International Student Art Awards competition.

Han certainly received his answer, which was resoundingly positive, as his piece Coexistence won the Juror’s Choice Award. The Industrial Woodworking Technician student heard about the contest through Humber and, having an interest in art-related fields, decided to apply.

“I didn't expect to win a prize,” said Han. “It was amazing and exciting because many people were interested in my piece and liked it. Also, I’m so happy and grateful to have a jury recognize my work.”

Han said, when he came to Canada, he was interested in Indigenous history as he said it relates to what Koreans experienced during Japanese colonial rule. Han said that, during this period, the Japanese government forced Korean children to use Japanese language and names to remove their culture and identity.

“Similarly, that happened in residential schools in Canada,” said Han. “To create the work, I found a photo taken at the Mohawk Institute Residential School in the past and drew line art based on images on transparent fabric. In this process, I used sewing as a drawing method.”

The Mohawk Institute Residential School was a residential school in Brantford that is now the Woodland Cultural Centre.

A piece of art that uses string to stitch the outlines of people overtop a photograph.

Han said he hopes his work is a reminder to society of what has happened in the past, so it is not repeated in the future.

Traditionally, Humber purchases any winning pieces from the League for Innovation’s student art competition and installs them in the collection housed in NX Building outside the Public Safety office. That will happen with Coexistence.

“It's an honour to have my work installed at Humber College and be shown to more people and share its story,” said Han. “I’m very proud of what I was able to accomplish.”

The League for Innovation is an international consortium of colleges dedicated to supporting and enriching students’ lives. The competition provides a means to showcase a selection of the best works being created by college students across North America.