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h a   l e e 

 Ha Lee Pretty Taliban soldier.jpg

2nd PLACE WINNER:  Make Love Not War Competition
ha lee
ridgewood, ny/USA 
PRETTY TALIBAN SOLDIER Needlework printed cloth on canvas
76 x 106 cm
2,000. USD

artist statement

Pretty-Soldier Series

In the military, I have distinctly seen a soldier who lost his life by a grenade accident. He was the young and handsome platoon leader of our platoon. I am not saying here to tell the 'chance' of losing a soldier's life by a faulty grenade bombed 2 meter above one's head but to tell a miserable scene of a war.

A war is the worst crime of human beings that ruins and totally smashes the dignity of man. There, democracy that includes the least freedom as human beings is thoroughly ignored, the massacre, killing and being killed, is practiced. If you experience a miserable war, ignored the dignity of man as human beings, you will be a pacifist.

The people we recognized as enemies are also humans and have emotion and their families just like you. And then, you will notice the difference between us and our enemies is nothing. Just, we and our enemies are differentiated by the difference of religion, thoughts, and culture.

I never forget the soldier's big eye that looked at me, dyeing in despair and fear with blood, and his sad eye made me a pacifist. He was a pretty boy who was graduated from a military academy with his smart brain, who had a fiancée promised the future, who had his mother praying for him every day, and who played a soccer game with his inferiors every week.

The history of human beings was the history of dying out and being regenerated by wars. The history was shame, disposing beautiful life by trifling and arrogant greed that people have. And the shameful history is keep continued till now.

I do not think that this violent side of human beings is not an instinct of mankind. I do not think human beings have aggressive and selfish instincts. Human beings are the most beautiful existence and could be happy in peace and love. A system that dominates people makes people a weak and evil existence and makes them see our society like the hell. People are deceived by lies. Human beings are such a beautiful existence. People are born to love life and peace and freedom.

I am trying to get in touch with soldiers in each country for my project through my friends and embassies, and NGO, especially trying to reach soldiers in countries in a condition of military tension. From the casted soldiers, I get their pictures from their family members or friends and draw the picture, using a computer graphic.

After the drawn picture is printed out on a texture, cut out the soldier and butterflies and then sew on a canvas. The work looks inflated because cottons are included inside of the sewed texture (this work process is a struggle). Every soldier is drawn pretty no matter where they are from, what religion they have, who they are. Humans are worth to be respected and be beautiful as valuable humans. Drawing their appearance as Pretty soldier contains a message of anti-war.



    Ha Lee received his bachelor's degree in painting at Kyung Hee University in South Korea and her master's degree in sculpture at the same school.
He worked at a newspaper company in South Korea as its editorial cartoonist.  In addition, he produced  30 short movies while an animation director, as well as a part-time animation professor.
He has been living in NYC since 2008.