Started on Sept. 8 and running until Sept. 26, the Bupyeong History Museum will be hosting the 2009 Global Contemporary Art Exhibition Peace Project.
The project`s theme is "peace" and artists have been left to express themselves in whichever manner they choose, as long as their works loosely follow the theme. In total there are 41 artists from around the world who will be exhibiting work. The twenty-four Korean, eight Chinese and nine international artists are displaying a wide array of work ranging from painting, to photography, sculpture and even video.
Three of the project`s artists discussed their views of the exhibition with Expat Living in the lead up to the start of the event.
Roxana Manouchehri, who is from Iran and studied painting at the Tehran University of Art, has lived and worked in Korea since April 2007 as a professional visual artist. Given the events of the past year in her home country, Manouchehri was happy to engage in such a meaningful event.
"I like the concept and idea of the Peace Project. Specifically, in view of the current political situation in Iran, I am happy to take part in a show which has the theme of peace.
"Art can be the best medium to bring people together. In this show there are Chinese, Koreans, Iranians, Canadians, Americans and English artists," stated Manouchehri.
Jeffrey Morabito was born in Bronxville, New York but being half Chinese, he spent his earlier years traveling back and forth between New York and Hong Kong. He received his BFA from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and currently is a painting and drawing instructor at the One-K Art Institute in Korea.
His hopes for the project are that audiences see how people can be different, yet understanding of each other.
"I would consider the art that I do as dealing with the figure in an expressionist manner. I think of the Peace Project as part of the greater effort of countries trying to be friends with each other.
Just like our own friends, we don`t share everything in common, but there are always things that we do share in which we have a mutual understanding," stated Morabito.
Chinese artist Jiang Nan received his M.A. from the Department of Chinese Painting at the Nan Jing Art Academy. Jiang currently feels that people perhaps ignore the relationship between themselves and nature in our current digital age.
"Global technology has ushered in a visual revolution, as this modern age might simply be called a "video era. But, during this time do we ignore the harmony between the humans and the environment?" questioned Jiang.
The peace project is an alternating one between Korea and China. The organizers and the artists involved all want to be able to announce peace in their own ways. For more information on the event go to the project`s website at www.peaceproject.kr or e-mail the manager Park Kyung-sun at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Adam Walsh
Painting for peace
I am a painter from Tehran. I live and work with my memories of my childhood and stories of my parents` and grandparents` childhood.
As an Iranian, I am from a country which has a very old and beautiful history but a very ugly and complicated present. My artworks are the mirror of my character: a complex Iranian woman. Human figures in Persian paintings have always fascinated me.
These figures lack the sexuality, perspective and realistic quality of western paintings, and their characters are different from realistic figures. Nevertheless, these figures, with all of their dissimilarity to modern Iranians, represent parts of the inner world of Iranian people - as though a common historical memory, like a thread, links these figures to us.
In my painting for the Peace Project entitled "Persian Magritte," I was inspired by the view of Seoul which I could see every day from my apartment window. I looked through the window at high ugly buildings without any character, color or sensibility. Tehran is the same; there are not many signs of our history in Tehran. I believe people reflect the city they live in. People who work like machines every day gradually lose their inner beauty and humanity. I am nostalgic for the beautiful people and lifestyles we had in the past.
"Persian Magritte" was also inspired by Magritte`s paintings and Persian miniatures. I imagined Persian figures coming from the murky Seoul sky to wash everything ugly from the city and the people therein.
I would consider the art that I do as dealing with the figure in an expressionist manner. I think of the Peace Project as part of the greater effort of countries trying to be friends with each other. Just like our own friends, we don`t share everything in common, but there are always things that we do share in which we have a mutual understanding on.
The main piece that I am planning on exhibiting is "The Myth of Sisyphus," which is based off the Greek myth of Sisyphus. Sisyphus was one of the gods` favorite kings.
He was however arrogant of his intelligence and challenged the gods. As punishment he was imprisoned to the underworld where everyday he was forced to push this rock up a hill. Right when he got to the top and is able to see the surface world, the rock would fall back down. He is forced to repeat this rite everyday.
An average person would see that even though many have tried to pursue peace, it only follows conflict and tragedy. Just as when Sisyphus tries to push that rock up the hill, it only ends up with the rock falling back down.
The way a dreamer would look at it though, is that no matter how many times that rock falls back down, Sisyphus will always start each day pushing that rock up the hill again to get that glimmer of the surface world at the top of the hill. Each day there is hope. Each day no matter the tragedy beforehand people will continue to pursue peace.
I hope that everyone will realize from this exhibit that there is more than one way to look at peace.