Search Blackfriars

13 August 2021

Blackfriars shines a light on art

A South Korean priest ­– who served in the Vietnam War, now lives in…

A South Korean priest ­– who served in the Vietnam War, now lives in Paris and whose art has been displayed around the world ­– will have his work on permanent display at Blackfriars.

Eight stained-glass panels created by Dominican Friar Fr Kim En Joong will installed in the school’s Chapel of St Albert the Great as part of a wider exhibition ­– Artist of Light – to be hosted by Blackfriars.

The exhibition is being held to mark the 800th anniversary of the death of St Dominic.

Fr Kim, 80, is renown globally for his stained glass and ceramic art.

The installation of the stained-glass panels – originally created for San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral – marks the first time Fr Kim’s window art has been on permanent display in the southern hemisphere.

Another 100 pieces, including fans, paintings and ceramics, will be on display in the school’s drama centre on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 August.

Fr Kim, who was born in South Korea in 1940, during the Japanese occupation, studied at Seoul’s School of Fine Arts as a young man. His education was, however, interrupted by military training and service, including during the Vietnam War.

On leaving the army, he became an art teacher in a Catholic seminary. During this time, he was drawn to a spiritual life and, two years after starting work in the seminary, he asked to be baptised.

Fr Kim, who was already gaining some notoriety as an artist, was then offered a scholarship to the University of Fribourg, in Switzerland. It was while he was in Switzerland that he met the Dominicans. He was ordained in 1974.

His family was unaware he had entered the priesthood, however, on his return to South Korea, he baptised his parents.

In 2010, Fr Kim was awarded the insignia of the Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters in recognition of his work creating 37 pieces of stained glass in the Basilica of Saint Julien de Brioude, in southern France. The Order of Arts and Letters (Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) was established in 1957 to recognise people who have contributed significantly to furthering the arts in France and throughout the world.

Fr Kim’s work can be found in churches across Europe and has been exhibited in galleries and exhibitions in Japan, Korea, France, the USA, the Vatican, Spain, Luxembourg and Belgium.

The free Artist of Light exhibition, co-sponsored by publishing firm ATF Press, opens at Blackfriars Friday evening.

For more information on Fr Kim, see