Running on its third year, the Korean Cultural Center in the Philippines launched the Philippine – Korea Contemporary Arts Exchange Exhibition on May 30. This year’s theme entitled “Coexistence in Asia” showcased some of the most talented artists from the two neighboring countries such as Joo Dae-hee and Kim Min-kyung from Korea while Manny Montelibano, Geraldine Javier and Leslie de Chavez represented the Philippines.
The well-attended event started with each artist introducing themselves and their artwork as well as revealing their creative process and ideas behind the final pieces. All of the Filipino artists have also spent time in Korea and participated in art exhibitions there.
Geraldine Javier pointed out that she used the fascinating rock formations on Jeju Island as inspiration for her painting and sculpture installation ‘The Weight of the World’.
Leslie de Chavez shared that he is currently represented by leading Korean art gallery Arario Gallery. He noted that “Korea has better programs, funding and support in the arts and culture department.”
Korean artist Kim Min-kyung explained the meaning of her famous masterpieces under the ‘Camouflaged Selves’ series which uses mixed media. “The ‘Camouflaged Selves’ represents the artist’s image of people who not only have boundless imagination and desires but exhibit adaptability as well.”
Another famous Korean artist, Joo Dae-hee described the process behind the print series ‘Please’ and ‘The crying, cover with a smile’. He brought out his materials which included Korean traditional paper, ‘Hanji’ (한지), traditional pain brush and Korean ink and shared the steps with his portraits. He stated that he sketches his drawings (on a plain paper) first before putting hanji over it, he sprays water on top and then uses the paint brush and Korean ink or oil for the finishing touches.
Korean journalist Seo Jung-im then took the spotlight to discuss the status of art residency programs in Korea. She went into detail about ‘Seoul Art Space’ with its numerous art scholarships and residency programs that cater to foreigners and Koreans alike, and in the process they can collaborate and exchange cultures. Seo Jung-im emphasized that in accepting applicants to the various programs, the quality of the applicant’s artwork is more important than the quantity of artworks.
The night proved to be a big success. It is certainly a great way to introduce Korean art to the Philippines. I immediately became a fan after seeing everyone’s pieces. I was so impressed that I immediately changed my phone’s wallpaper to Kim Min-kyung’s ‘Camouflaged Selves’. Yes, that is how much I loved her work! I could not get enough of the artworks which all looked so surreal.
I also had the privilege to talk to Kim Min-kyung and Joo Dae-hee about their work even though a lot of people gathered around them. I would also like to thank Kim Lon for translating.
To celebrate the 65 years of bilateral relations between the Philippines and Korea, the Korean Cultural Center in the Philippines is holding the Philippines – Korea Contemporary Arts Exchange Exhibit until July 26 and is free of charge. It is definitely something that you should not miss.