Student Art Is More Than Just a HobbyArt Exhibition "We Are All Stars"
Written by Dongmin Kim | Published. 2020.09.30 08:27 | Count : 755

Along the antique alleyway of Samcheong-dong in Seoul were quaint but pretty shops standing side by side. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, one gallery packed with people was catching the eyes. At the end of people's footsteps, there was a modernly renovated hanok, a traditional Korean house. Written on the big poster between the gray stairs and the wooden door frame was a sign “We Are All Stars.” Surprisingly, the artists of this exhibition are young students aged from 5 to 17. According to the director of the exhibition Oh Min-jung, whom I had a pleasure of sharing a conversation at the exhibition, “We Are All Stars was organized to help young students take a closer look at themselves and find their own individual voice amidst the flood of social media. The purpose of the exhibition We Are All Stars is to show the young students that they are all precious individuals, shining brightly like stars.” 

[A photo of poster of art exhibition We Are All Stars. Photo taken by Dongmin Kim]
[A photo of entrance of the exhibition We Are All Stars, looking from the atrium.
Photo taken by Dongmin Kim]

We Are All Stars is the 10th exhibition by I Love Drawing (ILD) art group. ILD is a project group created by Director Oh Min-jung, who specializes in art education and exhibition, in an effort to help students express their creative energy through art. I asked about how she first came up with an idea for a student art group. Director Oh said, “When I was young, I didn’t have many opportunities to show my artworks. So, I wanted to create a venue for students to hold art exhibitions through this ILD group and give the younger generation more artistic outlets I wished I had.” However, it was easier said than done. According to Director Oh, the ILD group had to “persevere many rejections from galleries that dismissed ILD’s efforts as children’s impulse in the beginning.” However, people's perspectives changed slowly over time with Director Oh’s continued efforts. ILD was even invited by the Jongro-gu office to exhibit at a public park in 2016. In fact, the ILD art group has been successfully holding exhibitions since 2011, with We Are All Stars marking its 10th annual exhibition.

[A photo of the works of student artists. photo credit: Dongmin Kim]
[A photo of the interview with Director Oh Min-jung. photo credit: Dongmin Kim]

Students in the ILD group are encouraged to experiment with a wide array of mediums. For example, the group’s past mediums included embroidery, pottery, “meok” (Korean ink),  lighting, and the list goes on. As to the themes of their exhibition, they cover equally diverse subjects, from environmental protection to conservation of endangered animals to preservation of Korean traditional culture. Moreover, ILD has collaborated with various social organizations including the environmental organization, “The Last Jungle” in 2018 and Brown Hands Showroom & Cafe in 2019 with a fundraiser event, “Santa Plzzz~!” Director Oh explained that “these collaborations are great opportunities for students to engage with a larger community and think outside of their circle.” 

[ A photo of the exhibition The Last Jungle Museum. Photo credit to I Love Drawing webpage]

However, that is not all. In addition to organizing student art exhibitions, ILD students also make donations to charities. Mrs. Hojin Chang, a parent of two participating students, pointed out that “Kids also design and create their own postcards to be sold for a small sum of money at the exhibition. Those postcards are really popular among visitors.” Each year, all the proceeds from the sales of postcards are donated to charities such as Save the Children and Childfund Korea. “It’s very important for children to experience the culture of giving back to society,” stressed Mrs. Chang. 

[A photo of painted postcards by students for sales at the exhibition.
Photo taken by Dongmin Kim]
[A photo of visitors to the gallery browsing a student's postcard.
Photo taken by Dongmin Kim]

Overall, the ILD art group shows that art could be more than just a hobby for students through their fundraisers, collaborations with other organizations, and art exhibitions with creative and socially conscious themes year after year. Art could be a medium for students to relieve their stress, express their individualities, and even give back to society. 

Dongmin Kim
Sophomore (Grade 10)
Saint Paul Preparatory Seoul

Dongmin Kim  student_reporter@dherald.com

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