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A Short Trip to a Street Art MuseumIwha Mural Village

As the new semester has begun again, spring has also come as always. Though it is still chilly out and the cherry blossoms have not come out yet, there is a place where Kingos can take wonderful pictures in this early spring season. The Sungkyun Times (SKT) recommends visiting Iwha Mural Village which is near to the SKKU Humanities and Social Sciences Campus. The SKT expects that Kingos will enjoy the start of the new semester with a trip to Iwha Mural Village, where both modern paints and traditional antique houses coexist in harmony.

About Iwha Mural Village

The History of Iwha Mural Village

The Iwha Mural Village used to be a deprived area in the past. Iwha-dong is adjacent to Dongdaemun Market, Korea’s largest traditional wholesale and retail market for clothing. Therefore, lots of sewing factories were located in the village in the 1960s and 1970s. In 2006, however, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) started to work on a public art project in Naksan, which was a project for improving the environment of deprived areas. Naksan district included Iwha-dong, so Iwha-dong was also the target for the project. The steering committee of the project chose Iwha-dong among several deprived areas, and about 70 artists installed 70 artworks at the village for three months. Moreover, residents, artists, university students, and volunteers participated in this project, and they not only painted the murals but also installed sculptures. Therefore, the mural village was successfully created. Many visitors from all over the world have found out that this village triggers nostalgia and this place became popular to them.

How to Get to Iwha Mural Village

From the Natural Sciences Campus: Kingos are recommended to use the inter-campus shuttle bus, and then take the Humanities and Social Science Campus shuttle bus to go to Hyewha Station.

From Humanities and Social Sciences Campus: It takes 10 minutes on foot from Hyehwa Station to Iwha Mural Village. Take Exit 2 from Hyehwa Station. The map below will help Kingos to know how to get to the village from Hyehwa Station.

Map of Iwha Mural Village (jongno.go.kr)

An Hour Long Trip Around Iwha Mural Village

It may take about an hour to look around all of the murals and artworks. The village is open 24 hours a day, but especially at night, visitors should be quiet in order for residents to sleep well. It is a good choice to spend the whole day because in the daytime visitors can see the murals and at night they can look down at the view of Seoul from the top of the hill, as the view at night is wonderful. After getting into the village, visitors might be familiar with the paintings. It is because the murals and street views of Iwha-dong appear across various media. The Wings Mural became famous after Lee Seung-gi took a picture in front of the mural from 2 Days & 1 Night, and a variety show was shown on Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) in September 2010. Since the program was very popular at that time, many viewers came to visit Iwha Mural Village and they made problems at the residential areas. As a result, residents who suffered from the noise and trash by visitors removed the Wings Mural. Another set of wings, however, was painted somewhere else because many visitors wanted to see the mural. This new mural is still as popular as the previous one.

The Previous Wings Mural & New Wings Mural (hani.co.kr)

Kingos who watched the second episode of Goblin will also recognize the view of the mural and street from the scene where the heroine Ji Eun-tak communicated with ghosts. Encounter, which recently ended, also showed Iwha Mural Village in the last episode. For a special experience, people also like to wear old school uniforms and take pictures around the murals. Some visitors might feel pain in their legs because the village is located quite high up, so there are several benches where visitors can take a rest. People can take pictures with some artistic benches.

Recommendations for a Unique Experience

Live Well Memorial

This is the site of the former Live Well Academy, also known a s Daemyeong Middle School which was an educational institute, for youths who did not have a chance of being educated. More than 3,600 students graduated from this small school from 1965 to 1987. A Korean man, Ma Dae-bok, founded this school when he was a junior at the university. Also, the founder helped students’ dreams come true by working hard to raise money for the school. Visitors can take a look at some photos about how Daemyeong Middle School grew up. In addition, there are things which trigger nostalgia in the yard such as an old harmonium, an old signboard, and old school uniforms inside the memorial. Next to the memorial, there is a gallery for artist Kim Myeong-hwa and a world doll museum, so visitors will need enough time to look around. The location of this place is 46, Naksan 4-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul. The memorial opens 24 hours a day, but visitors should check opening hours of the gallery, the museum, and the school uniform rental shop.

Inside of Live Well Memorial

Café Iwha Jungsim

As Kingos walk through Iwha Mural Village, they will encounter many cats. Iwha Jungsim displays pictures and artworks of cats, and visitors can even draw cats and display their paintings in the café. If there are Kingos who love cats, this café would be their heaven. After ordering a beverage, visitors are provided with paints and a wood board in order to draw cats. There is no extra fee for drawing to people who order drinks. When visitors finish their drawings, their works can be displayed inside or outside the café, or they can take their works home. The location of this café is 18-4, Naksanseonggwakseo 1-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul. It opens from 12:00 to 19:00.

박예지  ggoomtlex2@skku.edu

<저작권자 © THE SUNGKYUN TIMES, 무단 전재 및 재배포 금지>

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