The 1st Art Festival of International Korean Adoptees was organized by GOA’L, Global Overseas Adoptee’s Link. Overseas Koreans Foundation (OKF), and Life Insurance Philanthropy Foundation, Korean Life Insurance Association, are among the many sponsors that helped.
The theme of Boarding Bridges seems to be that of the boarding bridges at airports that one must go through to get onboard a modern jet airplane. The Adoptee artists were joined by other Korean artists who went abroad to other countries to study art, music, dance, etc. They all had similar experiences of travelling to other countries, though in the case of Korean Adoptees it was under very different circumstances, to say the least.
Belgian guitarist Denis Sungho Janssens was the festival's art director. The curator was Lee Min Young and was assisted by Lee Hangsoon. PR was handed by Cho KyuSook and sponsored by Fleishman-Hilliard. Marc Champod was in charge of Installation installing (?). Translators included Monica Kim and Sebastien Vanderlinden (Park KeeKwang). Numerous GOA’L staff worked countless hours before, during, and after the event. Many Korean volunteers also gave time and energy to bring success to the event.
The booklet is full of excellent commentary on the purpose of the event. The KWB quotes just some:
“The term of “global Korean” is actually describing Korean adoptees very well. Being Korean (by origin) but being American, French, German, etc. defines the lives of many adoptees. But here again, every adoptee has his/her own definition of their identity…it is my hope that this festival contributes to the acknowledgment of the world wide Korean Adoptee community by the Korean society and to the mutual understanding between the two.” GOA’L Secretary General DaeWon Wenger
“I truly congratulate you on the 1st Art Festival of International Korean Adoptees…There are about 7 million Korean people that are living abroad, away from the land they were born and many of them have gone through the history of adversityies to be where they are today…it is my wish that they (international adoptee artists) can interact with many Korean artists through culture and art as “Koreans”. Overseas Koreans Foundation President Kwon Yeong Geon
“Since it’s establishment in 1998, Global Overseas Adoptee’s Link has been a strong supporter for the families of adoptees visiting Korea…Korea Life Insurance Association has gather together to support…in the hope of helping Koreans and Korean adoptees to better understand each other…” Korea Life Insur. Pres. Lee Woo ChulCurator Lee Min Young wrote:
“When I was given the burdensome duty to program the 1st Art Festival for GOA’L, I could not help thinking about the unique identities of adoptees beyond the realm of art…I found that they look just like me, but they certainly are foreigners that use different languages, gestures, and that even walk differently. After a few minutes of conversation I realize…they are the witnesses of Korea’s past history that we have forgotten. It is time we find them in our forgotten history and offer our hands of reconciliation…Boarding Bridges brings multinational artist that have been raised in different cultures…I feel refreshed by more delicate sensibilities of their diverse expressions and narratives…with cold-hearted keenness to observe the reality with endless questioning of their identities and the emotions which they were able to experience more vividly as social minors such as anger, happiness, solitude, beauty, and sadness…each individual artist focuses on their personal stories and “presence” has become an important theme .” Curator Lee MinYoungNext post, the Korean War Baby will present Art Director Denis Sungho Janssens words. Also a brief of each artist, musicians, dancers, who were part of this Art Festival that attempts to create Boarding Bridges.