▲ Origin The popular uprising of Koreans. Photo by Yang Ho Geun
Twenty years ago, Park Gyeong Hoon, an artist and a member of the Korean People’s Artist Federation, visited some of the bird-shaped concrete and reinforced steel vestiges of the Japanese colonial period on the island.
Altteureu, located in Daejeong-eup, Seogwipo City, was an airfield built by the Japanese army during the Second World War. There were 30 hangars at Altteureu alone, though 10 were ultimately destroyed.
▲ Patriotic and Unpatriotic A real sized artwork of a Japanese fighter during the Japanese colonial period. The artwork was made from a rusty steel frame. Attached bronze pieces are engraved with pro-Japanese faces. Photo by Yang Ho Geun
At the time the entire island was used as a military base aimed at conquering Asia. Park absorbed the pain of the Jeju people during his visit and said to himself that he would hold an art exhibition at the site to commemorate the suffering.
Fast forward to this year, the centennial of Japan’s forced annexation of Korea, which sees that Park has realised his dream. After spending all of 2009 preparing for the event, an outdoor exhibition at the 11 hangars on Altteureu titled, “Seeing Asia at Altteureu,” can be viewed from now until Nov. 14.
▲ Memory storage. Photo by Yang Ho Geun
“[Japan] pushed Jeju into the war but still they display no remorse for their crimes,” Park said, adding he had overheard one Japanese tour guide at the exhibition praising the design of the hangars but omitting any reference to the occupation.
▲ Tenno Heika Banzai (Long live the Emperor). Photo by Yang Ho Geun
Park considers the forced annexation of Korea by Japan to be one of the worst periods in Korean history. The exhibition is one way to better contextualize the history and fall out of these long-neglected hangars on Jeju.
▲ Pro-Japanese biographical dictionary. Photo by Yang Ho Geun
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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