eL Seed installs artwork in the DMZ

He is known for his work that promotes peace and unity all over the world and for his latest project, he worked in one of the world's most sensitive areas – the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea.

For an artwork commissioned by the Gyeonggi Museum of Art in Ansan, South Korea, eL Seed translated a Korean poem into Arabic, created a 43-panel laser-cut aluminium art piece and installed it onto the metal fence that divides the two nation states.

The poem was by Kim Sowol, a poet who was famous for writing folk song type traditional poetry and contributed greatly to the canon of Korean Modern poetry. Crucially, he was from the northern part of the country, but he died in 1934 before the country became divided. The poem itself tackles the subject of memory and history to act as a symbol of peace and unification, with an aim to bridge cultures and generations.

You may remember, unable to forget:
yet live a lifetime, remember or forget, 
For you will have a day when you will come to forget.

You may remember, unable to forget:
Let your years flow by, remember or forget, 
For once in a while, you will forget.

On the other hand it may be:
’How could you forget
What you can never forget?’
— Kim Sowol

Deeply symbolic and incredibly timely, the piece joins a long list of meaningful projects that eL Seed has spearheaded all over the world. Ironically, the 65 metre artwork was installed at the same time as President Donald Trump was visiting Korea. The President was denied permission to enter the DMZ, yet eL Seed was working away and also conducting workshops with local children about his endeavour. It just goes to show, sometimes peace can outshine aggression.

“It was an honour for me and for the Arabic language to be asked to create this work,” said eL Seed. “I believe that artwork can unite people and reduce our differences and even though few people in Korea can read the Arabic script, it is a tool of beauty and elegance to convey my universal message.