Soma Han was born in the agricultural southwestern part of the Korean peninsula. She was the ninth child of the village elder, a Tao master and teacher of Buddhism, a descendant of the aristocratic Han family.

The first king of the Chosun Dynasty, founded in 1392, took as his bride a daughter of the ancient Han lineage and began one of the longest family dynasties in history. Known for their intelligence, their strong character and their keen perception, seven Han women were chosen as queens by Yi family kings during their 500-year rule. Soma’s father was a direct descendant of this royal line.

Soma Han has a BA in literature and a BFA degree from the California College of the Arts. Her works have been shown in galleries in Arizona, California, New York, Washington, D.C., Mexico, Hong Kong and Korea.

Gallery hangings have included:

  • 1982    Rosequist Gallery, Tucson, AZ
  • 1985   “An American Painting Preview, 1800-1985,” Harkness House, NYC, NY
                (Soma was the only living artist included in the annual exhibition)
  • 1995   "50 States," VSA Gallery, Kennedy Center Affiliate, Washington, D.C.
  • 1999   Korean Cultural Festival, Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena, CA
  • 1999   “Miniature Show,” Monterey Museum of Art, C
  • 2000   VSA Gallery, Beverly Hills, CA
  • 2001   Oakland Public Library, Asian Branch, CA
  • 2002   Museum of Children’s Art, Oakland, CA
  • 2003   Museum of Children’s Art, Oakland, CA
  • 2009   Museum of Children’s Art, Oakland, CA

Soma with her first
son Stephen in 1982.

In 1999 she illustrated a collection of Korean proverbs, Tigers, Frogs and Rice Cakes. The picture book was selected by the California Department of Education and added to the “recommended reading list” for use in California schools. In 2003 Soma illustrated and co-authored another book on Korea for young readers, Land of Morning Calm: Korea Then and Now. This title was selected by Skipping Stones Magazine for its 2005 Honor Award in the multicultural and international category.

Her third picture book debuted in September, 2012; a Korean fairy tale entitled Maya and the Turtle, from Tuttle Publishing. She dedicated the book to her mother, a wonderful story-teller. Maya won the Morning Calm Prize in 2014, voted first by elementary school students in Korea's 15 international schools.

Her first public sculpture, an iridescent, 36-square-foot Italian glass-tile mosaic 22 months in the making, was installed at an SRF ashram in Hidden Valley, California in 2011.

Soma's body of work is available for viewing in the archives of the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. where she is a charter member. She has been listed in Who’s Who in America.


Panoramic view of the garden and home Soma designed for her 20-acres in the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains adjoining the Cleveland National Forest.

johnandsoma@Ymail.com + www.somahan.org
Maya and the Turtle: Facebook || YouTube