A fundraiser for Gangjeong Village is underway in hopes of developing a nature reserve there. The show includes 36 notable artists.
Kang Yo Bae, Hyun Gi Young, Kim Su Yeol, Koh Gillchun, and Ko Won Jong, among many others, are providing artworks for this cause. All artists have substantially reduced the price of their works in order to encourage buyers, and all have agreed to donate 60 percent of the proceeds.
Some, such as Kang Yo Bae, have refused to accept any return and are donating 100 percent. Curator Ahn Hye Kyoung has also waived her commission after cost.
The idea for this exhibition came from artist Song Maeng Suk who asked Ahn to host the show, promising to lend the event his full support.
An opening party will take place on the evening of June 16 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Many of the artists will attend the event and vocalist PiRi will perform free of charge, courtesy of his promotion company Boosmusic, which has also waived its customary fee.
Many of the participating artists have created art focused on Gangjeong's nature specifically for this event, while others have donated existing works.
Hong Bo Ram is creating four artworks for Gangjeong Village. Two of them are being shown in this exhibit: one, a drawing using Gangjeong clay, and the other, a frottage of the gurumbi rocks unique to Gangjeong.
These rocks, found along the seashore, give the appearance of many distinct, rounded rocks when in fact they are all part of a single, massive rock bed. They are an apt metaphor for the interconnectedness to be found in the biosphere.
Hong has also created a video art piece in which she appears multiple times at the Gangjeong seaside during sunset, first listening to the sea and then vocalizing in return.
“It is a collection, a reflection of moving life along by sound,” according to Ahn, “birth, progress, and death – the life cycle.”
For her fourth work of art, Hong is writing a book based on numerous conversations with Gangjeong residents regarding their most memorable places in the village; after each she visits the site and writes about it.
Koh Gillchun has created a frottage as well, using Gangjeong plant life. Kang Yo Bae donated an existing work, a nighttime scene at the bay in Gangjeong depicting a boat carrying the full moon.
Kim Won Chun is a Jeju medical doctor who, over a two-year period, traveled around Jeju to photograph and write about its history, politics, and society. He published a book and has donated two of his photographs to this exhibition. Yun Yeong Taek, a philosophy professor at Jeju National University, has also donated his artwork.
One participating artist, Hong Sung Dam, is well known not only for his art but also for having been imprisoned for his activism during the Gwangju Uprising.
“There were 37 artists in this show originally,” according to Ahn, “but one backed out because he felt his participation might hurt a family member's political career.” She agreed that even today, as with the first “Sasam” art exhibition in 1994, supporting politicized causes can feel threatening.
None of the artworks in this show have overt political or anti-military themes, however, despite the controversy over the development of a naval base at the Gangjeong seashore. Instead, they are focused on the natural environment that stands to be destroyed by such development.
Called “'Sesarma Intermedia' and its Friends in Gangjeong!”, the show's title refers to a fully terrestrial crab species which is especially threatened by the development project.
“We remember Tapdong,” Ahn said, referring to the development of a popular seaside area in Jeju City, “and it is a bad memory. Covered twice in cement, it was a great loss for Jeju people.”
Following its opening night party, the exhibition will continue through June 22, during which the gallery will be open from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. For more information see www.artspacec.com, or call 064-745-3693.
Dr. Hilty is a cultural health psychologist. <Jeju Weekly>
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