It really should be us thanking the KCCUK, not the other way round. But on the occasion of its fifth birthday the KCCUK has been characteristically generous in its expressions of gratitude to its supporters.
Last Saturday at Cadogan Hall saw a free concert with Pansori Master Song Soon-seop, plus Pansori singer Lee Jaram, pianist Kim Sunwook and tenor Park Ji-min. And on the 5th anniversary itself, after a two-hour discussion of the presentation of Korean Culture in the UK held at the KCCUK itself, a celebratory dinner was held at the Corinthia Hotel, just down the road from the KCCUK, where a lot of the their visiting VIPs are put up.
To mark the occasion, several individuals and organisations were presented with a Korean Ministry of Culture Special Award to mark their assistance in furthering the KCCUK’s work:
- Jan Stuart (Keeper of the Asian Collection at the British Museum)
- Beth McKillop (Deputy Director of the Victoria & Albert Museum who was instrumental in establishing the Samsung Gallery
- Ralph Rugoff (Director of the Hayward Gallery)
- Jonathan Mills (Director of the Edinburgh international Festival)
- Adrian Evans (Director of the Mayor’s Thames Festival)
- Brigadier Brian Parritt, author of Chinese Hordes and Human Waves, who has supported the KCCUK with talks about the Korean War.
London Korean Links was also very honoured to have been included in this august company. Coincidentally, LKL went online on in early 2006, which is also when the search for the KCC’s London premises started, and when full-time staff started working on the organisation of various cultural programmes (including the first of the KCC-organised London Korean Film Festivals.)
The seven honoured guests were privileged to receive replicas of Korea’s National Treasure Number 287 – the 7th-century Baekje Gilt-Bronze Incense Burner.1 It was a struggle to get it home, but it is now sitting in pride of place in a display cabinet.
The Corinthia had prepared a special menu for us – devised by one of their chefs, who happens to be Korean. Chef Kim Hyunggyu had cunningly assembled an ingenious collection of dishes, all of which contained authentic Korean flavours but which eschewed the use of chilli and other hot spices which sometimes don’t go down too well with the less adventurous palettes. The results were something which I hope could be see more of on western tables. It was all beautifully presented too.
A wonderful celebration to mark the first five action-packed years. Thank you again, KCCUK.
Thanks also to Jeon Sung-min of the Euro Journal Korean newspaper for two of the photos.
- The Gilt-bronze Incense Burner of Baekje, presumed to have been made at the end of the 7th Century CE, was excavated in Neungsan-ri, Chuncheongnam-do, in October 1993 and designated as National Treasure No 287. It is 64cm in height, and composed of a base with a carving of a dragon raising its head, a body containing various animals on a blossoming lotus, a lid containing various figures surmounted by a Chinese phoenix spreading its wings energetically.