TheKoreaTimes (2005.1) Artist Presents Fowl Paintings for Good Luck

By Park Chung-a
Staff Reporter

In the past, Koreans used to place tiger and fowl paintings , called ``saewha,'' on the walls of their homes or doors for good luck. That custom may not be practiced anymore, but a gallery in Seoul is presenting some auspicious fowl paintings this month to increase your fortune.

In the art gallery of the Hankook Ilbo Building in northern Seoul, artist Suh Gong-im, who has been working on traditional folk paintings for 27 years, is holding an exhibition titled ``When Rooster Crows, the Dawn of the Year of Rooster Breaks,'' from today through Feb. 13.

``I also held exhibitions on the tiger in 1998 and the dragon in 2000, the years of the corresponding Chinese zodiac animals, respectively,'' Suh told the Korea Times. ``I always wanted to draw another animal of the Chinese zodiac and it turned out to be the rooster. The rooster is one of the most popular animals of the Chinese zodiac that frequently appears in traditional folk paintings .''

Suh not only uses traditional materials for folk painting, such as Korean paper and ink, but also uses modern items such as rough paper and silver and gold engraving. The pictures, titled ``Dream,'' demonstrate two brightly colored fowl s drawn on uneven paper, giving off a modern feeling.

``Foreign monks often visit my studio to see my work,'' the 45-year-old painter said. ``I think the traditional aspects as well as the modern ones of my paintings could be appealing to many foreigners. I will continue working on finding creative ways to develop and popularize the genre of folk painting. I am looking forward to holding my exhibition in western countries as well.'' She added that the joyous feelings she captured in her work will be conveyed to the visitors.

``The rooster is traditionally a favorable animal that brings fortune and hope. I have high hopes for my family as well as for the whole Korean society. As the people are facing hard times, I hope viewers will become encouraged and hope for something better through my fowl paintings .''

The gallery is closed on Saturdays. For more information, call (02) 724-2882/3.