"There are three curving lines which reflect the beauty of Jeju island" said Baek Un-cheol, the director of Jeju Stone Park where this photo exhibit takes place from Sept. 20 ~ Nov. 19.
All photos courtesy Kang Tae-gil
Baek believes that the three are the lines of graves, thatched-roofs, and oreum (volcanic cones). Among them, the beautiful curves of Jeju oreum stand out. On the surface, they look like the elegant and tranquil movements of traditional Korean dances. A deeper glimpse into oreum let us feel the solemnity and allure of Jeju’s beauty.
Considering its size, Jeju island has the most oreum (volcanic cones) clusters in the world. Over 360 monogenetic volcanoes known as oreum have one peak seen from one direction, and have two, viewed from another.
According to Baek, it is pity that many oreum had their original lines and forms altered due to the reckless tree-planting in the 70s and 80s. Under the afforestation plan of the government, rapidly-growing young Japanese cedar trees were planted in large quantities, as it was believed that oreum without trees were simply ‘bare mountains.’
The cedar trees planted along the straight lines of oreum veiled the beautiful curves of the oreum. Baek drew an analogy between oreum with the cedar trees and a Buddhist monk wearing a wig. Many oreum. which once had profound and peaceful auras like meditating monks, have lost their unique line of beauty since then.
Fortunately, Kang Tae-gil’s photos revive the image of Jeju oreum in their original form before the wildly-growing cedar trees covered the oreum. His photo exhibition at Ohbaekjanggun (Five Hundred Generals) Gallery, Jeju Stone Park is a rare and monumental opportunity to see the pristine images of Jeju oreum. The exhibition started on Sept. 20 and continues until Nov. 19.
Photographer Kang left Jeju island all of a sudden for Gangwon province after spending 30 years capturing the beauty of Jeju oreum, maybe since he could no longer stand in pursuit of the beauty of Jeju he wished to capture.
However, he came back to Jeju with his photos he took long years ago. His photos exhibited at the Gallery are inspiring, and even more inspiring is his decision to donate 350 photos selected from his collections to Jeju Stone Park.
<Graves of Mythology ; Photo Exhibition of Kang Tae-gil's Donated Collections>
Date : Sept. 20 ~ Nov. 19
Place : Ohbaekjanggun (오백장군, Five Hundred Generals) Gallery,
Jeju Stone Park www.jejustonepark.com
2023 Namjo-ro, Jocheon, Jeju City (제주시 조천읍 남조로 2023)
Opening Hours : 9am ~ 6pm (the first Monday of each month is closed)
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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