Flower Walls for Peaceful Demonstrations
Jeon Hee-jae (Department of Financial Management, 4th yr)
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The year 2016 has been a hard time for Koreans politically. Corruption related to President Park led Koreans to the streets to protest for her removal. In most sites where demonstrations were held, police were summoned to suppress the outburst. Violence inevitably occurs in protest sites, and there are cases where protesters aggressively collide with the police. On the other hand, in recent scenes of demonstrations, there was an idea to put flower stickers on the wall of police trucks as a symbol of peace instead of violent confrontation.
The idea was thought up by an illustrator named Lee Gang-hun, and the project, named ‘Changing Car Walls to Flower Walls’ was backed up by a crowdfunding art company called 7Pictures. The company representative, Jeon Hee-jae (Financial Management, 4th year), was interested in the project, because he thought that it showed how art could influence society for the better. “By allowing people to participate in the creation of art, the project could really speak for protesters,“ he said. This week, News H met Jeon to hear about the works of his company and his viewpoint on art.
Flowers for peaceful protests
“The project started out from communicating with illustrator Lee through Facebook. We made contact and decided to carry out the plan,” Jeon explained. The fundraising was held in the way of crowdfunding, a method used by artists and social activists who need money to promote their works and projects, by asking the public for donation. More than one hundred artists cooperated in drawing and designing the stickers- through various means such as typography, illustrations, and messages.
The result was successful. 30 thousand stickers were produced with the donated money. Soon after, the second project was held, this time making the stickers more detachable for the convenience of the police officers. Also, there were suggestions to use real flowers to decorate the walls of police cars, so the second donation included 90 thousand stickers with 700 flowers. Although the upgraded stickers were more expensive, the second fundraising also succeeded. People actively donated and voluntarily participated in decorating the car walls with the flower stickers during demonstrations.
Art, an expression of life and the world
7Pictures is a company that aids artists through crowdfunding by introducing artists' projects or social activities on their homepage. Users can donate small sums of money, and can advertise a given product or project by sharing the information through SNS. “The 7Pictures website displays recent projects to fundraise for the flower stickers, including others like funding for a play about comfort women, who suffered as Japanese military sex slaves, and for the opportunity of allowing economically underprivileged children to visit an art exhibition,” Jeon said.
Jeon became interested in art while actively working as a student director of TEDx, a conference for spreading novel ideas through lectures, held exclusively at Hanyang University. “Back then, I not only interviewed artists for TEDx events, but also met many people in the field of art out of pure interest and curiosity. Listening to their stories, I came to realize that artists needed money for holding gallery exhibits, and creating projects to products. That is why I decided to found my company, 7Pictures, to help them,” Jeon explained. The company’s prior mission was to introduce seven pictures a week, hence its name, 7Pictures. However, Jeon developed his idea into an internet fundraising platform for artists. 7Pictures won first prize in last year’s HYU startup competition.
“Art is appealing because it freely expresses opinions from everyday life- money to political authority and so on. This is done in a beautiful and charming way, too. The way that art portrays life makes us think and change the way we view the world,” Jeon clarified. His dream is to encourage more people to become interested in art and help artists arrange much-needed funds. “Because money is donated and the art projects are advertised through SNS, it becomes easier for Korean and other Asian artists to make themselves well-known overseas,” Jeon mentioned. “Starting from small and attractive designer goods to catch customers’ eyes, I want to cover diverse fields, such as visual arts, music or even dance, in the immense world that is art.”
Jang Soo-hyun email@example.com
Photos by Moon Ha-na
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