The Island is a Buoy

by Hyunjoo Son

Private View: Wednesday 25th June 6.00 - 8.00 pm

Exhibition: 25th June - 5th July 2014

Hyunjoo Son’s work started when she began researching her own family’s history, which took her to the island of Anmyeondo, where all her photographs taken for this series are taken. Anmyeondo is a tiny island located in South Korea which, when measured against the whole world, may be seen as a small speck. Son raises the question of how a ‘speck’ could have such history and meaning for her, while understanding that others might not feel the same.

Her works document not only the importance of a buoy, but of her travels across the island. It took her 15 days of walking to return to her starting point. This coastline trek, her second after a previous walking pilgrimage undertaken five years ago, was to walk the entire island end to end. As she travelled along the coast she became increasingly aware of buoys, which to so many are simple and regardless items. However, Hyunjoo’s thoughts were of the different people, her ancestors perhaps, who might have seen the island in a similar perspective, seen as something significant. She thought of ships and the fishermen who manned them, returning from their time upon the ocean. These seafaring folk would see a buoy and feel a sense of relief and security, an indication to them that home was not too far away. Son’s main objective in her works is to find intrinsic values in items which people in modern society might so easily discard as being insignificant.

About the artist:

Studying Korean literature at university fuelled Hyunjoo’s passion for writing, such that for the last 20 years she has been a journalist and photo editor for the national Korean newspaper, Kyunghyang. Her journalistic skills encompass many different disciplines, including food, wine and travel. Photography remains an abiding passion and she has won many awards for her works. In particular, in 2004 she won the ‘Photo Edition of the Year Award’. She has also written and published several books, her most recent, published in 2012, being ‘Travel into Seasonal Tables’.

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