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Born in Busan, Korea in 1949, Su Kwak grew up near the seashore and the mountains of her native country. She moved to the United States in 1973 where she attended college at the University of St. Thomas in Houston and later completed her MFA with honors at the University of Chicago. She is represented by the June Kelly Gallery in SoHo, New York City and the Ralls Collection in Washington, DC.

Kwak’s paintings are in the permanent collections of leading museums in Korea and America, including the prestigious National Contemporary Art Museum of Korea, the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon and the Brauer Museum of Art in Indiana. She has had numerous solo and group exhibitions in the United States and Korea. Recently she had a traveling retrospective exhibition at the Brauer Museum of Art (2012) and the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art (2013).

In addition to painting, Kwak has authored Healing Words, published by the Pauline Press, Seoul, Korea (2013) and a memoir entitled Light in the Heart: Love and Art, published by Dana Giwhack, Seoul, Korea (2002).

In 2000, Kwak received an award from the Republic of Korea for helping to advance Korean culture overseas. The Maryland State Arts Council gave her an Individual Artist Award in 1998. In 1982, Kwak was artist-in-residence at the Henry Street Settlement Arts for Living Center in New York City and in 1980, she received the Fairweather-Hardin Gallery Prize for excellence in the fine arts from the University of Chicago.