"Floating Dreams" by Ik-Joong Kang

By Dairia Kymber

This year’s Thames Festival in London brings the River Thames to life with the new installation “Floating Dreams”. Created by one of South Korea’s most renowned and celebrated multimedia artists, Ik-Joong Kang, this piece was developed as an ode to his home country. The three-story-high lantern structure features 500 miniature drawings illustrated by the generation that fled from North Korea to South Korea during the Korean War that impacted the region 66 years ago.

Kang encouraged the elderly participants, aged between 80s and 90s, to reflect on their experience and draw their hometowns on small pieces of paper, measuring 3 x 3 inches. The bittersweet images prompt the viewer and illustrator to commemorate the progression of lost homes and broken families to a new hope for expression, acceptance and peace. Kang created a single work, transferring the images from the sheets of paper onto pieces of​ Hanji, a traditional Korean rice paper with hopes of a promising message and statement towards the reunification for their country.

Kang is celebrated in the art community for his attention to societies around the world and his passion to tell its story. Almost always including the works of individuals within that society, Kang, for example, worked with the humanitarian program, UNICEF, to produce Amazed World, a giant maze installation of approximately 40,000 drawings by children from 150 countries shown in the lobby of the United Nations building in New York.

“Take Me To The River” is the theme of this year’s Thames Festival presented by the Thames Festival Trust. It begins September 1 and ends September 30, 2016.

"Floating Dreams" by Ik-Joong Kang
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