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The West Coast Gallery is honoured to host some of the most breath-taking outdoor and indoor pottery and ceramics created by Sang Sool Shim (1953 - 2020) and Keum Sun Lee. These are truly extraordinary artworks that reflect their collaborative creativity and represent a ceramic legacy which will live on in the hearts of many New Zealanders.

Lee has gifted ‘Whisper of Nature’, the exquisite outdoor sculpture now installed on the gallery lawn, to the West Coast Gallery in recognition of the cherished association they and the gallery have had over many years.

Shim has been recorded as saying they used to do a lot together. However, one day Lee said to Shim, “you go off fishing by yourself and I’ll stay home”, which he felt was a strange comment from her. When he arrived home, he found that Lee had been drawing on the pot that he was making! This was the start of their inspired working partnership in ceramics.


In 2001, they moved to West Auckland and established their home and studio in the forested hills on the edge of the Waitakere Ranges. They soon discovered that very few New Zealand potters were aware of the centuries old history of Korean pottery so it became their passion to exemplify and share the knowledge gained from research into the traditional craft. They were influenced by, and experimented with the historic forms and techniques of 10th Century and 15th Century Korean pottery. Shim created the ceramic forms either by hand or on a wheel and Lee decorated the exterior surfaces using the traditional Korean methods of Sanggam (intaglio) and Bakji (sgraffito) – delicate free-hand surface carving and engraving – which have been meticulously painted and inlaid with glazes of vibrant contemporary colours.

Over the years, Shim and Lee have had many successful exhibitions and won international awards in Korea, Croatia and Austria. Their collaborative works are included in the Austrian Museum and Portage Trust New Zealand Collections.

They were selected many times as finalists in the Portage Ceramic Awards, but in December 2018 the self-taught artists won the Premier Award. This is New Zealand’s most prestigious pottery prize.


7th International Ceramic Biennale 2013 (Korea) - Selected as lecturer artists of International Academic Program.

National Contemporary Art Award at Waikato Museum 2014 - Selected Finalists.

In 2014 and 2016 they successfully exhibited their works in SCULPTURE ON SHORE and Arataki Visitor Centre.

Art & Sculpture Awards in 2014 - Merit Award.

Exhibition in West Coast Gallery Piha 2017 and their sculpture was chosen in SCULPTURE ON SHORE 2018.

Greater Auckland Art Award & Exhibition 2018 - First Prize and Merit Award.

See more their work here photographed by Sait Akkirman

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