Where else would you spot 12 art majors huddled together talking about art and life other than at school? About an hour’s drive north of
First designated in 1997 as a “book village” with about 370 members, Heyri is a planned community where people can live, create, display, and sell various cultural products in one space. Among 70 shareholders who have already built and opened their artistic spaces, houses, restaurants, and galleries, 12 of them are Ewha graduates, 9 of whom are ceramics majors. The Ewha Voice went out in search of not only the culture of their beautiful setting but also the culture behind it—the one formed by interactions among the 12 gallery owners who are bound by the name Ewha.
The first place we visited was the Porcelain House owned by Hwang Kyung-hee (’76, Ceramic Arts), the 22nd member of Heyri and also the leader of the Alumni Association of Ceramic Arts. When we arrived at the office, Hwang greeted us with a warm smile on her face. Holding a huge map of Heyri in her hands, she said, “It was 1996 when I heard about Heyri from a college friend of mine. While discussing where I should build a gallery of my own, she recommended Heyri, telling me that it was a safe village where people in the arts could join the project of making a cultural community like Hay-on-Wye in
Talking about the Ewha graduates in Heyri, Hwang said, “Although regular meetings of all the residents at Heyri are held once every two months, we gather once a month or sometimes once a week just to have a chat with each other. Since we are living with a common interest in art, we talk about our own work and give advice to each other. We also talk about current life as well as our lives back in school as Ewha students.”
Hwang added that the Ewha alumnae help each other in times of need as well. “Whenever I need something from abroad, for example catalogs from noted exhibitions or other materials, my friends visited the right places get them for me, which is very convenient.” “Why don’t you visit the gallery of my friend who first introduced me to Heyri,” said Hwang, when our interview ended.
Finding the gallery of the very first Ewha graduate in Heyri was not so difficult; thanks to Hwang, who walked out of her gallery to give directions. She pointed to a place in where there were so many trees that the house could hardly be seen.
Unlike Hwang’s Porcelain House, which was built on open ground, the Hanhyanglim Gallery was deep inside the woods. But after walking for about 5 minutes, dozens of jar, appeared before our eyes. Many people were already inside the gallery, enjoying an exhibition titled, “ Vessels filled with Fragrance and Joy,” and there was Han Hyang-lim (’79, Ceramic Arts) in an elegant red dress.
Han, the first Ewha graduate to be registered at Heyri, and the 16th member overall says, “We ceramics students often gather together and at one of our meetings, I told them about my plan of opening a gallery in Heyri. Some of them who were interested joined as well.” With the growing number of Ewha graduates in Heyri, Han says, “The advantage, of course, is that since most of us are residents of Heyri, having some schoolmates as neighborhoods makes us feel more like family and lets us have frequent get-togethers. Since we often gather to talk, other people here at Heyri sometimes wonder ‘What are those women doing?’”
The first Ewha graduate to open her gallery at Heyri in 2003, Kang Bo-kyoung (’65, Mathematics Education) plays the role of eldest sister among the Ewha graduates. Kang, a calligrapher runs a gallery called Chirimhun and says, “My fellow Ewha graduates are talented in their own artistic fields and they do their best in cooperating and supporting each other to make Heyri a favorable society.” Settling in an environment like Heyri, Kang seems to have fallen in love with this setting where one can just absorb art melted in the air. “Heyri is a place that provides a liberal atmosphere for artists from diverse fields to communicate with each other. I decided to come to Heyri to enjoy my life in an artistic environment and now that I have lived in here for four years, I am living with satisfaction beyond my expectations,” said Kang.
Heyri’s beautiful scenery can be enjoyed with no an admission fee; though galleries and cafes often charge fees of about one thousand won. Exhibitions take all year round. Heyri can be reached by taking bus number 200 at Hapjeong Station, exit number 2.
By Cha Ji-hae