Unhate #2

matt-lemon-photography-mentioned-in-groove.pngMatt Lemon Photography was mentioned in an article by Jenny Na in the latest issue of Groove Korea, South Korea’s leading English magazine for news, events and culture. For her article “Dance, Mingle, Be Gay”, Na interviewed members of Seoul’s LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) community to talk about the Meet Market, a mash-up of disco and drag that sets up every month or so at Myoung Wol Gwan, a venue that has long been a staple of underground culture in Seoul’s Hongdae borough. It features saucy drag and burlesque performances by a rotating list of divas and dapper dans, as well as kissing booths and raffles organized by various non-profit groups.

One of the organisers, a fashion designer using the pseudonym S.W. to protect her privacy, described her experience with a street art painting to illustrate the attitudes about the LGBTQ community predominant in Korean society that make the Meet Market necessary. The graffiti in question is none other than the one I featured on this blog earlier this year, and S.W. was in fact one of the persons repairing the vandalism my photos documented. Please click here to take a look at the different stages that the ‘My Family’ graffiti in Haebangchon underwent. Click here to download the July issue of Groove. The article is on pp. 96-99.

Click on the images to enlarge them.

In the meantime, I was contacted by the artist who created the ‘Foreigner X-ing’ (crossing) graffiti right next to it, a person going by the pseudonym of Fractal. From Fractal, I learnt the following.

“One day I noticed that the whole wall was painted white. At first I thought the city had [sic] enough and decided to repaint that wall. But after a while, and through some other people, I was able to realize what really happened. I received a photo which showed who was responsible. Apparently this picture was originally posted on Facebook. It wasn’t the city after all. It was apparently two lesbians who decided to ‘Erase the hate’. To be honest, I found that a bit ironic. The original ‘My Family’ piece was in support of them. Why would they want to completely destroy it? Especially while someone was showing their support by repairing it?”

I very much agree with Fractal, and every time that I pass by the white wall, it bothers me that these two people felt they had the right to shut down the dialogue. In my view, it’s rather unfortunate and quite inexcusable to erase someone else’s art work, regardless of the damage it has suffered. At the very least, the person who vandalised it ‘engaged’ with the piece and through the changes of the piece and expressed her or his opinion.

What do you think? Was it a good decision to erase it all? Please leave a comment below or on Facebook.

Related posts

UN|HATE – Attitudes towards Homosexuality in Contemporary Korean Society

Changing Perspectives – UN|HATE Revisited

To be continued?

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