The quest for assertion of one´s identity is an underlying theme at the core of Parada Kim´s work. The multicultural upbringing of the artist- she is half Korean and half Spanish and grew up in Germany- fuels her creative inspiration in various ways. Her oil paintings often reveal faded portraits of individuals or a group of people whose only distinctive characteristics consist of the clothes they are wearing. The Korean traditional costume, Hanbok, is the only clue that may lead us to guess the subject´s nationality. Other than the costume, there are no indications that could help identify the subject´s personality or temperament. We are made to focus more on the costume while the individuals wearing it disappear behind the artist and the subjects on her canvas also serves as a metaphor for today´s South Korean society where traditional values are losing ground in the face of the predominantly modern lifestyle.
Helena Parada Kim uses photographs of members of her mother´s family to produce her work. Using family portraits as a source of inspiration for her painted work, she carefully transcribes the rich and colorful texture of the elegant Hanboks she saw in her mother´s albums. The feminine figures adorned with these rich and delicate garments fascinate the artist, who has never met them in person. They are painted with close attention to the detail of the clothing but with much less detail in the faces. The artist has chosen to give them consistency through their cultural identification rather then their personal existence. Each portrait carries the sitter´s name as it´s title and serves as a visual homage to the artist´s ancestry and to Korean traditions and culture as seen in the costumes that embody their owner´s identity.