Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Arirang TV Chief Among Most Powerful Female Asian CEOs in Media

Sohn Jie-ae Sohn Jie-ae
Arirang TV CEO Sohn Jie-ae was the only Korean included on a list of Asia's 32 most powerful women working in the world of media by Singapore's ContentAsia magazine, released in September.

In an interview with the magazine, Sohn said, "Women execs in Asia should make a much more aggressive effort to be included in major decision-making processes in the corporate world."

She added that the hardest part of being a female leader in Korea is balancing work and family life given the high expectations of women to take care of their husbands and children in Korean culture.

Tokyo Exhibition of Korean Artifacts Raises Hackles


The Tokyo National Museum on Tuesday unveiled an armor and helmet presumed to have been worn by a king of the Chosun Dynasty.

Twenty relics including King Gojong's official uniform and a hat or ikseongwan are on display for the special exhibition. Some of the items on display are believed to have been looted or stolen during the Japanese occupation of Korea, and Korean civic groups are calling for their return.

They are in nearly perfect condition. Around half are donations from the Okura Collection and have not been opened to the public before.

Businessman Takenosuke Okura (1870-1964) collected a huge amount of Korean artifacts during the colonial period. After his death in 1982, his son donated 1,040 items of the collection to the Tokyo National Museum.

The museum for some reason decided not to mention that the exhibition contains royal artifacts. The Ven. Hyemun, who campaigns for the return of stolen Korean cultural assets, said, "During the Japanese colonial period, the items used at the royal court were managed by Japan's Imperial Household Agency, so it was impossible for them to circulate in public. It is almost certain that Okura got them through illegal channels."

Hyemun added that if the Tokyo National Museum received the donations knowing that they were stolen, it should return them to Korea.

The regulations of the International Council of Museums stipulate that museums should not receive or buy stolen goods.


Painting Stars

Ha Jung-woo’s “My Hair Designer” Courtesy of Cheongju International Craft Biennale

A-list entertainers gain credibility as artists
Ha Jung-woo
Ku Hye-sun
By Kwon Mee-yoo

The prolonged economic slump has sucked the juice out of the art market and among the few artists managing to move their works are famous part-timers from the land of movies and television.

The paintings of these actors, actresses and singers aren’t to be confused with the Picassoes and Pollocks of the world, but are better than what you would normally encounter at amateur contests.

Ha Jung-woo, 35, is perhaps the most in-demand actor in the Korean movie scene, thanks to a slew of hits like “The Yellow Sea,” “Nameless Gangster,” “The Berlin File” and “The Terror Live” that highlight his filmography. Ha also wants to be taken seriously as a painter and it seems his reputation is beginning to pick up, judging by the reviews of his solo exhibitions in Korea and elsewhere.

Ha’s works are currently displayed at the Cheongju International Craft Biennale (CICB), which runs through Oct. 20 at the North Chungcheong Province city, featured with the creations of other entertainers like Ku Hye-sun and Cho Young-nam in a special section titled “Star Craft.”

Ha has actually been painting regularly since 2004, starting out by imitating his favorite artists including Jean-Michel Basquiat and Jackson Pollock. The influences of Basquiat and Pollock are evident in Ha’s works, featured at five exhibitions in Korea, Hong Kong and New York.
Ku Hye-sun’s “Fantasy”

Ha managed to sell all of his 16 paintings displayed at New York’s Walter Wickiser Gallery in March and is preparing for a bigger overseas exhibition later this year.

Ku, an actress who gained international fame after appearing in the Korean version of hit television show “Boys Over Flowers,” is a talented 28-year-old who also writes fiction, composes songs and paints. As a painter, she debuted in 2009 and has held four solo exhibitions in Seoul, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Her paintings are reminiscent of the characters she usually portrays on television — innocent, whimsical and mysterious. An honorary ambassador for the CICB, she is also featuring 20 of her wood sculptures and metal craft at the event.
Ku Hye-sun’s “Self Portrait I”

The country’s most famous entertainer/painter is perhaps Cho Young-nam, the singer and television emcee who held his first painting exhibition in 1973. He held six solo exhibitions this year alone and his pop-art works sell, mostly inspired by the Korean national flag (taegeukgi) or “hwatu” playing cards, sell for around 500,000 won apiece.

Kim Jong-kun, Hongik University professor and chief organizer of the Star Craft exhibition, said that the works of these entertainers are helping to boost public interest in art and promote CICB internationally. The works of the stars will be auctioned off after the event and the proceedings will go to charity.

While there are critics who welcome works of these “art-tainers,” as coined by the local media, others are callous, questioning the seriousness in commitment and the works’ artistic depth or lack thereof.

“If they weren’t famous celebrities, it’s hard to imagine their work receiving much attention amid the fierce competition between rising young artists,” said one art critic who didn’t want to be named.

In this post-modern world, anyone can be an artist. In contemporary art, the ability to generate interest is often put before the sophistication in technique, something Marcel Duchamp evidently showed by displaying a porcelain urinal at a museum and naming it “Fountain.”

These entertainer/painters have a built-in advantage in the ability to generate interest. Anonymous full-time painters may feel cheated.

Source: The Korea Times

Take a Trip Back in Time to Gyodong Island

With its pristine environment, ranging from golden fields to pine trees and mountain trails, Gyodong Island near the western port city of Incheon makes for a great respite from the hustle and bustle of the big city. Meanwhile, its historical relics and cultural assets add another dimension to any trip here.

Although a bridge will soon connect it to the mainland, the islet, which lies near Ganghwa Insland in Incheon, can only be reached at present by a 15-minute boat ride.

Ferries run regularly from a port on Gwanghwa Island between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. But visitors are advised to check the schedule in advance as they can change depending on the prevailing weather conditions.

One of the top attractions is a site where visitors can find traces of Korea's oldest Confucian school, called "Hyanggyo." Ancestral tablets of famous scholars also mark the spot.

Another top draw is Mt. Hwagae, which rises 259.6 m above sea level. It takes about 90 minutes to reach the peak. The trail leading to the mountain is dotted with historical sites and traces, including a place where fires were lit to warn of invaders, and a mountain fortress built to repel foreign aggressors.

The thickly-wooded trail is also filled with the aromatic scent of pine trees and wild flowers. From the peak, visitors can enjoy breathtaking natural views.

After soaking up the scenery from a mountain pavilion, they can head back down to a small local market. Old-fashioned signboards create a sense of nostalgia in this 400-m alley, which feels like a throwback to the 1980s with its home-appliance repair shop, barber shop and roast chicken eatery. It takes just 10 minutes to stroll around it.

For more information on Gyodong Island, visit http://www.nadeulgil.com.