Hand Thoughts: Journals of tucking my mind into repose, 2020.
Recycled clay, oxides and acrylic. Dimensions variable (approx.. 40 x 40 x 65cm max each).

Hand Thoughts is a series of hand-built sculptural journals that inquire Shin’s artmaking process in ceramics as a metaphor for mentally exercising self-compassion, or practicing kindness to oneself. Making affects Shin by pausing her negative thoughts and ruminations that stem from the anxiety of living and being. An incessant, internal conflict lays within the artist as her childhood identity continues to be lost, merged and overwritten by her growing identity in Australia. Her practice is inevitably intertwined and affected by these subconscious anxieties. Through sculptural journaling, the artist seeks to intimately pause, mend and cope with the unspoken dialogues within her hybridizing self that eat her away.

During artmaking, Shin lets her hands think and worry, externalising unspoken anxieties that evolve and take life of their own outside of her mind. Her hands do the worrying, subconsciously responding with the next gesture and mark. Each piece is a physical entry of such ‘hand thoughts’, where her angst was externalised through specific stages of hand-building that mimic key components of clinically exercising self-compassion.*

The thought pieces reveal where Shin is situated after attempting self-compassion. The unwanted fragments of self and thoughts, projected through recycled clay discarded in the shared studio, take form and are realised as a cohesive, processed whole. Hand Thoughts celebrates the artist’s ongoing struggle and milestones of coping with her shifting identity and the anxieties that arise from it.


  1. Piling slabs of worry, using raw clay columns as bases (Mindfulness of worry).

  2. Binding the slab structure together (Capturing the thoughts onto paper).

  3. Gently patting and smoothing all facades, caressing the mess at hand (Responding to the thoughts with a compassionate voice).

  4. Making imperfections on the surface by repetitive mark-making, body reliefs and imprints (Generalising the thoughts to the wider ‘imperfect’ human experience).
Annie Areum Shin
Instagram @annies

Annie Areum Shin is an emerging Korean-Australian artist based on Darug Country, Sydney. Her practice employs an ‘art for my sake’ approach to elucidate psychological processes and frameworks underlying one’s aesthetical choices and mental state. Through artmaking, she turns to queries of angst and internalisations, implications of applied psychology and fragments of the self that were birthed from them. Shin investigates abstraction, materiality and collage across painting, sculpture and installation to mimic her mental space and the dialogues that unfold within. The participatory and interactive domains of her recent works reflect her interest in sharing these self-discoveries with the public.

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