Philip Gowman

Heezy Yang, the South Korean artist, performer and activist, is also known for his fabulous alter-ego, the drag queen Hurricane Kimchi. Currently in London for the Queer Asia conference at SOAS where he is performing alongside Chinese feminist and LGBTQ activist Whiskey Chow, he appeared on BBC World News yesterday: Yang has illustrated several LGBT […]

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Exhibition visit: Haenyeo, Women of the Sea, at National Maritime Museum

by Philip Gowman 14 June 2017
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The National Maritime Museum, part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Maritime Greenwich, played host to an exhibition featuring South Korea’s latest inclusion in UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage. Life-size photographs of Jeju’s famous diving women were dotted around a building which began life in 1807 as a school for the children of British seafarers. […]

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An evening with Michael Breen and The New Koreans

by Philip Gowman 13 June 2017
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When going to a book talk, it is all too common to find that the moderator has little knowledge of the book or its subject matter, and asks the author embarrassingly shallow questions leaving the audience and author short-changed. No such risks last night at the KCC, where the British Korean Society’s Chris Hollands conversed […]

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Young In Hong’s 5100: Pentagon

by Philip Gowman 10 June 2017
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Here are a few photos and a video from the two performances of Young In Hong’s work 5100: Pentagon on 4 June 2017 in the courtyard of the Royal Academy of Arts in Piccadilly. The performers were all volunteers, of whom fewer turned up than expected because of the terrorist incident in the London bridge […]

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June events 2017

by Philip Gowman 1 June 2017
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A busy and varied month of events: Exhibitions The V&A’s exhibition of Contemporary Korean Ceramics lasts until 2018. Han Collection’s exhibition of buncheong ceramics lasts until 3 June. Their subsequent exhibition, Paper Man, opens on 6 June, lasting until 21 June. The KCCUK’s ceramics exhibition – Between Serenity and Dynamism – also closes on 3 […]

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Lord Alton on North Korean human rights and more

by Philip Gowman 30 May 2017
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Those of you attending one of the DPRK Youth Para-Ensemble performances, or planning to go to the seminar at SOAS tomorrow, may want to read Lord Alton’s hard-hitting op ed in the Korea JoongAng Daily from two weeks ago (18 May). Much as we would be heartened to see genuine progress in the treatment of […]

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Hwang Jihae’s Shoes Tree project at Seoul Station

by Philip Gowman 28 May 2017
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This year’s Chelsea Flower Show has just come to an end. No Korean participation this year, as far as I am aware. Last year Hwang Hay-joung won silver gilt for her Smart Garden sponsored by LG. But loyal readers will remember back to 2011 and 2012, when Hwang Jihae, without a big name corporate sponsor, […]

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News of the visual arts programme as part of Korea/UK season 2017/18

by Philip Gowman 27 May 2017
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Back in February, the British Council announced the various cultural events taking place in Korea as part of the UK/Korea season of cultural exchange. The first of the reciprocal events, the launch of the Korea/UK season, took place in the V&A last week with the launch of the Contemporary Korean Ceramics exhibition, with the upcoming […]

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A Korea focus in this week’s TLS

by Philip Gowman 27 May 2017
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This week’s Times Literary Supplement (26 May 2017) contains no fewer than four Korea-related article-reviews: Min Jin Lee on Bandi’s The Accusation (Serpent’s Tail) (LKL review here), JM Lee’s The Boy who Escaped Paradise (Norton), Yi Mun-yol’s Meeting with my Brother (Columbia) and Jieun Baek’s North Korea’s Hidden Revolution (Yale) Houman Barekat on Han Yujoo’s […]

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2017 travel diary – reminiscences

by Philip Gowman 21 May 2017
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This year, I’m not doing a detailed hour-by-hour account of my trip. That’s not because I didn’t have much to report. It’s just that I decided only to focus on the bits which merit standalone articles. After all, you don’t particularly want to know what I had for lunch every day, or who my dinner […]

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Love X Stereo at the Windmill – both intimate and euphoric

by Philip Gowman 17 May 2017
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Many thanks to Annie Ko and Toby Hwang for a fantastic gig down in Brixton on Monday night. Featuring tracks from their recently-released album 37A – the first fruits of their crowdfunded project for 2017 in which they aim to release 37 songs during the course of the year – as well as earlier albums, […]

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Look forward, not back: how best to work with North Korean exiles

by Philip Gowman 15 May 2017
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If I had been given a fiver every time a journalist or PhD student asked to be put in touch with North Korean refugees in the London area I wouldn’t be exactly rich, but there would be a few more books overflowing from my already full bookcase. Whether it be for reaction to the latest […]

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Sewol victims remembered at the Ansan Street Arts Festival

by Philip Gowman 5 May 2017
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Ansan, Gyeonggi-do, 5 May 2017, 6:30pm. It is said that at the height of his efforts to build the Republic of Korea into an economic powerhouse, Park Chung-hee happened to be flying in a helicopter over western Gyeonggi-do. He looked out and saw what he considered to be a lot of under-utilised real estate, and decided […]

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Book review: Waxen Wings

by Philip Gowman 4 May 2017
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Waxen Wings: The ACTA Koreana Anthology of Short Fiction from Korea Edited by Bruce Fulton Koryo Press, 2011, 238pp There are plenty of anthologies of Korean translated fiction available, and many of them are edited and / or translated by Bruce Fulton, usually with Ju-Chan Fulton involved in the project too. I recently enjoyed the […]

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May events 2017

by Philip Gowman 1 May 2017
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May is a big month for ceramics; and Youn Sun Nah celebrates her new album with a performance at Ronnie Scotts: Performance Say Sue Me are at 100 Club supporting Japanese group Otoboke Beaver on 1 May Kyung-wha Chung plays unaccompanied Bach at the Barbican on 10 May The Barberettes return to London, with Sultan of […]

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Book review: Song Sokze — The Amusing Life

by Philip Gowman 24 April 2017
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Song Sokze: The Amusing Life Translated by Se-un Kim Dalkey Archive, 2016, 233pp Originally published as 재미나는 인생, Kang Publishing Ltd, 1997 The most recent book to be discussed at the KCC’s monthly book club was Song Sokze’s The Amusing Life, a collection of around 50 short “stories”. None of these pieces will detain you […]

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Kimchee opens new St Pancras restaurant

by Philip Gowman 23 April 2017
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When Kimchee Restaurant opened up in Holborn in 2011 it was one of the few Korean establishments in London to invest really heavily in the decor and fittings. Their second restaurant, recently opened behind St Pancras station, continues the trend. It also has table-top BBQs, and I hear they had some half-price deals to celebrate […]

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