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“The tenacious life of Jeju”Finding peace at Kim Young Gap Gallery, Dumoak, Seogwipo City
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승인 2013.05.24  16:26:39
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▲ Small stone statues at the Kim Young Gap Gallery. Photo by Kim Jinmi.

At the entrance we are welcomed by a wizard doll with a wide hat and there is a beautiful garden decorated with files of ivy-covered volcanic stones and trees. At this point it is also joined by Olle Trail 3. This provides a convenient place of rest for those who have been walking for a while.

This gallery used to be Samdal-ri Elementary School. The grounds of this old elementary school are lined with cedar trees across one side and wild flowers on the other. There is also a self catering cafe for rest after visitors have looked around the gallery.

Kim Young Gap gallery, Dumoak is located in Samdal-ri, Seongsan-eup, Seogwipo City. The area is famous for Seongsan Ilchulbong which is registered as UNESCO World Natural Heritage. It is further south and more to inland than the sea side. Dumoak is the old name of Mt. Halla.

▲ A doll at the Kim Young Gap Gallery. Photo by Kim Jinmi.

Kim Young Gap (1957-2005) is a photographer born in Chungnam but fell in love with Jeju Island, especially the oreum (parasitic volcanic cones); he moved to the island in 1985. He settled at the abandoned elementary school in Samdal-ri which became the restful gallery it is now. He was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease in 1999. However, he didn’t give up his passion for taking photos of Jeju and about three years later this gallery was opened.

Kim Young Gap says in the video played at the gallery, “In my photos there is one wobbling tree and a wild wind with dark clouds before the typoon comes. This is not the simple beauty of Jeju, but the tenecious life of Jeju. This expresses only the exterior of beauty, but it’s more than that...I found such great peace which I can’t find in other places. I got infatuated with it in Jeju. So, I have lived here for 20 years now.”

▲ The gallery sign. Photo by Kim Jinmi

His photos show the various emotions of Jeju even though they were taken in one place. The critic, Kim Hyun-don, explained, “Good photos speak. Whether about a life, humans or society. They furtively hunt out the hidden memories of viewers who keep numerous stories. If it doesn’t speak, this picture is actually dead.”

Kim Young Gap’s photos speak out loud the four emotions of Jeju: happiness, anger, sadness and pleasure. He continues, “Kim Young Gap’s camera captured Jeju’s nature not as the object of tourist development, but as an organic living space. He sees it as wild nature, not polluted nor damaged, looking at the sea, Mt. Halla and Mara-do, the southernmost place in Korea. He is thoroughly living a nature-friendly life in order to represent this wild nature as it is, with his camera.”

Gallery information: Date & time : 09:00-18:00 everyday until June (closed Wednesdays)
Admission fee: 3,000won (Adult), 1,000won (children over 7 and adults over 65 years)
Address: 137 Samdal-ro (437-5, Samdal-ri), Seongsan-eup, Seogwipo City
Public transportation: Jeju City Intercity Bus Terminal to Pyoseon - Take the bus to Samdal 2ri in Pyoseon and walk 1.4 km / Seogwipo City Intercity Bus Terminal: take the bus to Samdal 2ri and walk, 1.4 km
Info.: 064-784-9907
Website: http://www.dumoak.co.kr/


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