The Korea Foundation Cultural Center provided the people in Korea with a rare opportunity to appreciate the design culture and arts of Sweden as well as the everyday life of the Mapuche, an indigenous ethnic group of Chile, in two separate exhibitions. ‘Swedish Footprints’
Co-hosted by the Embassy of Sweden in Seoul and the Korea-Sweden Cultural Society, along with sponsorship support from the Korea Foundation, the “Swedish Footprints” exhibition was held at the Korea Foundation Cultural Center (October 21-November 7), on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relatins between Korea and Sweden. The exhibition featured the works of four Korean artists, including Park Suk-u and So Jin-sook, with longterm ties with Sweden, and nine emerging artist from Sweden (established figures and relative newcomers), in an effort to introduce the arts and design culture of Sweden to Korea. The works on display covered a range of art genres, such as painting, textile, and fashion.
Visitors came by to view the exhibition even during the afternoon hours of weekdays, in all likelihood because this was such a unique opportunity to look over the arts of Sweden, a distant country on the other side of the world. Upon entering the gallery area, visitors are greeted by Annelie Nilsson’s “Buffalo, A Symbol of Harmony,” a basic work in white and red that is meant to express her hope for change and a bright tomorrow. The buffalo is her symbol of such change and progress, which was accentuated by the work’s intense colors and rough touches.
Women’s dresses were also on display, looking much like a high fashion corner of an upscale department store. Up close, you could see that an unusual material was used for the dresses, which included knitted patterns of thin silver-colored filament adorned with plastic foil. This is a work of Anna-Karin During, entitled “A Sense of Snow,” who said her inspiration came from the ever-present snow around where she lives, in an area of northern Sweden along the Arctic Circle. As an outgrowth of this project, she has launched a clothing brand that stresses environment-friendly materials and processes.
The exhibition also displayed “More and More” contemporary art works of Kim Sun-min, which represents a constant state of change in humankind and the natural environment through a variety of forms, like spheres and ellipses, that disappear and reemerge in different shapes. Although the artists sought to express a diverse range of themes and used various means of expression, there was evidence of Swedish sentiments in all of the individual works. In particular, Sweden’s respect for nature and the willingness of its people to adopt needed change seem to offer valuable lessons for the people of Korea.Mapuche People
The Embassy of Chile in Seoul organized a special “El Mapuche con Buenos Ojos” (Mapuche with Good Eyes) photo exhibition (October 23-November 10), which included 25 photos of the Mapuche, an indigenous people of Chile (regions VIII and X). Since the photographer, Lincoyan Parada, is himself of Mapuche origin, his photos delved into the cultural characteristics as well as the daily life of the Mapuche.
Lincoyan Parada is a highly acclaimed photographer who has received numerous awards in Chile and other South American countries. Following a successful showing of these works in Chile, for which it earned the Altazor National Arts Award in 2007, the exhibition has received sponsorship support so that it can be shown abroad.
Above all, this photo exhibition is a kind of socioanthropological documentary of the Mapuche of Chile, who heretofore have been largely unknown to the people of Korea. An especially noteworthy aspect of the photographic works can be seen in how the Mapuche people seem to gaze at and through the camera lens, with their eyes, as alluded to in the exhibition title. The individual subjects make no effort to smile unnaturally or strike a pose. In one photo of a three-generation family, the lineage between an elderly grandmother and a young toddler is quite evident, reflecting a kind of constancy of their basic lifestyle.