Week 13: The Chungjangro Art Festival

Gwangju Travel Blog

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For the past several weeks Gwangju has been preparing for the festival held on Chungjangro (also known as the Art Street).  Lanterns have been hung down all the major roads leading into downtown.  Numerous statues and thousands of flowers now decorate the sidewalks which until recently had been quite bare.  Speaking of bare, many of the statues seem to have little to do with korean art but most of them have one thing in common- they're extremely naked!  It's quite a shock to turn the corner of a very conservative street to run right into the statue of a naked man proudly displaying his family jewels to the world.  It's definitely not what I would have expected to see on the streets of Gwangju.

I guess that's art for you :)

Justin, Grace and I met up on Saturday and took part in the festivities.  There were dozens of special vendors selling everything from ginseng to dried fish and ceramics.  I was a little shocked by the prices.  I stood admiring a ceramic tea set until I noticed the price tag that read 500,000 won- yowza!  Even the tiny, rather unattractive ceramic pieces were at least 30,000 won.  Needless to say, I did a lot of browzing and very little purchasing. 

It was fun to watch the street performers strutting around in tie dyed capes and bright silver spandex.  We also ran into a huge crowd watching a fashion show of all the latest western style clothing.  The aromas from street vendors food cars wafted through the air so of course we sampled some tasty snacks.  The downtown area was definitely packed but we had fun deftly dodging through the crowds as we explored all that the festival had to offer.

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Fashion show downtown.
Fashion show downtown.
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Two traditional korean performers…
Gwangju
photo by: jegs76