Since Gwangju, South Korea and San Antonio, Texas became Sister Cities in 1982, the two communities have forged a friendship that has lasted 40 years. This relationship has particularly blossomed in the arts with the construction of a Sosaewon Garden assembled by Gwangju artisans in Denman Estate Park, participation of Gwangju artists in Luminaria Contemporary Art Festival since 2015, and the installation of a light sculpture by San Antonio artist Cakky Brawley at the Kimdaejung Convention Center in Gwangju, which continues to shine.
The two cities signed the Sister City partnership after the Gwangju Uprising on May 18, 1980, a tragic event where many innocent citizens were sacrificed by forces of state power. We thank San Antonio for embracing Gwangju as a friend, offering support and condolences during a catastrophic time.
Gwangju is in the Jeolla-do Province of South Korea. With a thousand years of a long-standing history, this region, boasts a rich and abundant natural environment as it is surrounded by the Southwestern Sea and Honam Plains. Historically, it was a region where voluntary soldiers protected the country whenever they were invaded. From anti-Japanese movements during the Japanese colonial era to the Gwangju Uprising of 1980, Gwangju has been a city of noble spirits where people united and stood against injustice, protecting themselves and the nation. We call this the ‘Gwangju Spirit,’ which has expanded beyond Korea and is the foundation of the democratic movement in Asia and other developing nations. Today, Gwangju serves as a lighthouse for the future of Korean democracy.
In 2014, Gwangju was selected as the UNESCO Creative City of Media, emerging as a city representing media art through the creation and production of media artworks and exhibitions, domestic and international exchange, and connection with relevant industries. To embrace the traditional and contemporary diversity of art in Gwangju, this exhibition presents a variety of media. Sister Cities: Gwangju to San Antonio introduces the academic thinking and artistic tradition that stems from the abundant nature of the region and the righteous history that forms the basis of the Gwangju Spirit reinterpreted into contemporary art.
The works in Sister Cities: Gwangju to San Antonio embody the spirit and history of Gwangju and show our connectedness. Featured artists include: Haru.K, Seol Park, Namjin Lim, Eunsol Cho, Seonhooi Cheng, Youngsung Hwang, Junggi Lee, Leenam Lee, Jaeghil Woo, and Yonghyun Lim.