South Korea

When I was invited to present THIS HEART OF KOREA (South) to Consul General Yoo Tae-hyun, naturally I was happy.  The painting has recently been exhibited in the Philippines for the APEC and upon its return it, along with many others, were removed from the stretcher bars and rolled up to save space in my studio.  Upon restretching the painting, I was disappointed to find a tear in the canvas.  Now, this is normal.  Canvas is only a fabric.  It would be easily mended.  As it got closer to the presentation date, I felt compelled to redo the painting.  So, to everyone’s amazement, five days before presentation, I announced that I was going to do another canvas.  Now, this painting requires much measuring and several layers of paint so with no sleep, coffee, and a hair dryer, the painting was finished the night before presentation!

The colors of the flag are red, white, and blue.  The flag has the yin/yang symbol, representing opposites, placed in the center of the Heart,  and trigrams placed on a background of white, the color which stands for purity and peace.  The Heart “echoes” and expands to the outer edges, looking like   the petals of a flower.  The painting is vibrant, joyful and peaceful.

On the day of presentation, there was no truck to deliver it and, worse still, no one to help.  Now, I had just finished the painting, I was not going to give up at that point!  So, I tied it with rope to the top of my old SUV and off we went.  Several times the painting loosened and I had to pull over to refasten it.   What a trip!  When I arrived, I did not want anyone to see this unusual delivery so I parked a distance away and recruited a passerby to help carry it.  It was so windy, we were “sailing” all over the place.  When we got to the Consulate, I tried my best to look composed!  I am laughing as I write this...

You would think at this point it would get easier, but no!  The Consul General was stuck in traffic and would be delayed!   He very politely kept me informed of his whereabouts over the next few hours.  Meanwhile, people were coming into the office to see the painting and we had quite a crowd for the presentation.

Meeting the Consul General was indeed a great privilege.  He was very happy to see THIS HEART OF KOREA and spoke so eloquently.  When I think about him saying that the painting was a manifestation of his vision for a unified Korea, I am deeply moved.  He is a peacemaker...another Ghandi.  He invited me to join him in a cup of marvelous tea.  He shared with me his concerns for his country.  There was a famine, you see, in North Korea and how were the children going to be fed.  It was of grave concern to him.

A few days later, I requested copies of the photographs of the presentation from the Consul General’s office.  You cannot imagine my chagrin when I looked at these photos.  I had omitted “South” in my new painting!  I had painted THIS HEART OF KOREA instead of THIS HEART OF SOUTH KOREA!    I believe that the Consul General’s vision took precedence!