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Korean Carving and Cultural Displays

21 October 2008

Korean drumming, dancing and carving will be on display in Cathedral Square at lunchtime this Friday (24 October).


The performances mark the visit to the city by a delegation from Christchurch’s sister city Songpa-gu, led by Mayor Kim Young Soon.  The highlight will be a performance by renowned Korean master craftsman Mr Kim Jong Heung.


Korean drummers from the Christchurch Korean School will show their skills, as will Korean dance groups from Casebrook Intermediate and Merrin Schools.  Both schools have sister city schools in Songpa and have hosted staff and students from those schools earlier this year.  A band from St Andrew’s College will also perform.


The performances will begin at 1.15pm in front of the Police Kiosk in Cathedral Square and the public is warmly welcomed to come along and watch.  If the weather is wet, proceedings will transfer to the Merrin Primary School hall, 41 Merrin Street, Avonhead.


While in Christchurch Mr Kim will carve two jangsung, or guardian totem poles, which will replace the poles at the entrance of the existing Korean garden at the Halswell Quarry Park.  The original poles, which had been in place for about seven years, rotted and need replacing.


“It is a real privilege for us to have a carver of Mr Kim’s repute perform in the city and we are delighted that he will have an opportunity to share his talents with us,” said Shirley Johnson, Christchurch City Council’s Civic and International Relations Manager.


Mr Kim is a graduate of the Korean National University of Cultural Heritage.  In 2002 the Korean government recognised his work by designating Mr Kim a national ‘human’ treasure, and he was included as important intangible cultural property No. 108 Wood Sculptor.   


Mr Kim was recognised as having given 100 jangsung performances earlier this year and has been involved with the establishment of jangsung parks in 10 countries including Korea, Israel, Russia, America and Canada. He performed for (and was introduced to) Queen Elizabeth at the time of her 63rd birthday in Korea in 1999 and performed for and met George W Bush in 2002. He is also recognised for his traditional Korean mask dance performances - which have been performed 2,500 times in Korea. 


His website shows a number of photos of him at work.


During his Christchurch visit Mr Kim will also take the opportunity to meet with local carver Dallas Matoe, who creates hand carved works from New Zealand native timbers.


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