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Artists donate talents to help Hansenites

Helping lepers through talent as well as money

A concert in aid of the village A concert in aid of the village
  • Francesca Shin Hyun-suk, Jeonju
  • Korea
  • April 3, 2012
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When it comes to donating to the needy, most people immediately think in terms of money or something equally concrete. But a group of eight volunteers in Jeonju have shown that donating a human asset such as talent can be every bit as valuable.

The group has just completed a highly successful week-long event and exhibition entitled "Open the Window,” which showcased its collective talents across a range of arts and crafts, including calligraphy, candle making, Korean traditional painting and ceramic art.

The artists also produced some exquisite, traditional paper dolls and fans. These were especially appropriate as Jeonju, the provincial capital of Jeollabuk-do province, is well known for preserving and promoting traditional customs and culture.

The event was the brainchild of Father Augustinus Kim Bong-sul, who was clearly delighted, both with the outcome and with the way the group has grown. It started last Christmas with 20 people and now, under Fr Kim’s mentorship, its membership has doubled.

“We want to use the talents we have to spread hope in society,” he said.  "The world seems only interested in things that are big and fast, but we aim to freely give our small talents, which become truly useful when they are used for others.”

The collection of talents consisted of Catholics, non-Catholics and even old friends of Fr Kim, who came along to contribute. Flute player Joanna Kang Eun-hae came with some fellow musicians from Seoul to perform at the event.

“I’ve been a friend of Fr Kim since we were infants and I’m very happy that I can use my talent from the Lord for such a valuable purpose,” she said.

The proceeds from the exhibition will be used to help renovate a Catholic chapel in a Hansenites (victims of leprosy) village in nearby Gochang. Creative talents will again be brought into play, as  Sobyok Magdalene Son Seung-hee has promised to donate her talent in stained glass and Paul Hong Sun-mu, a highly acclaimed artist in his 80s, will contribute a holy painting.



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