2023 Korean Dream Art Festival

Wairimu Mwangi
September 28, 2023

The 2nd Korean Dream Art Exhibition—New Civilization was held at the Maru Art Center in Insadong from August 1-7, 2023. The exhibition was designed as a space for empathy and communication on the unification of North and South Korea, featuring 50 artists from all walks of life, including citizen artists, North Korean defectors, and young artists. Together, the artists participated in spreading the “Korean Dream,” a pan-national vision of peaceful reunification based on the spirit of Hongik Ingan (meaning “to broadly benefit the human world”).

A group of people posing for a photo at the 2023 Korean Dream Art Festival.

Group of participants during the Korean Dream Art Expo

Global Peace Foundation Founder, Dr. Hyun Jin Moon, coined the term “Korean Dream.” Emerging from division as a new nation, a unified Korea “must be rooted in a firm foundation of universal spiritual principles and moral values,” Dr. Moon said. “These form the essential bedrock for true liberty. Hongik Ingan—living for the greater benefit of all humanity—is the founding aspiration of the Korean people, and . . . it represents the original ethical and moral compass of the Korean nation and Korean identity.”

During the exhibition, GPF affiliate Global Peace Women (GPW) hosted a “K-Family Connecting North and South” event on Sunday, August 6. The event consisted of two parts: an Arirang concert and a message-writing session. Arirang is a national song that has been passed down through the long history of the Korean people. The Arirang can be sung by both North and South Koreans with the meaning that North and South are one family.

“We planned this event to show that North and South Koreans can unite rather than conflict and cross the long path (Arirang) together to realize the Korean Dream and that we can become a united family that can create a happy and beautiful country, and a new civilization even after achieving unification,” shared one of the organizers.

Two pictures of a woman singing at the 2023 Korean Dream Art Festival.

Arirang performances during the 2023 Korean Dream Art Expo

The event began with the familiar Gyeonggi Arirang. The piano was played by Soon Jung Kim, President of GPW Korea. Ms. Kim is a graduate of Berkley College of Music with a double major in jazz composition and jazz piano performance. She captivated the audience with her spectacular performance of the Arirang in a jazz style.

The Gyeonggi Arirang was followed by Jindo Arirang (Honam), Milyang Arirang (Yeongnam), and Jeongseon Arirang (Gangwon-do) in jazz arrangements. In between the performances, the audience learned about the origins of the Arirang and the fact that it was listed as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by both North and South Korea.

A group of people are standing in front of a table at the 2023 Korean Dream Art Festival.

Families participate in activities during the Korean Dream Art Expo

The participants were surprised to learn that there are more than 3,000 different types of Arirang in North and South Korea. They learned why various Arirangs had a similar feel when they heard the melody of “Ladoremisol” as the basis for the melody. They had a heartwarming moment as they recited the lyrics of “Unification Arirang,” which is a song that prays for the reunification of North and South Korea. It was a meaningful time to realize once again that North and South Korea are one people who want to reunite.

A woman in her 40s who attended the event commented, “I was very impressed by the Arirang performance, and I hope that we, the Korean people, who share the same Arirang song, will be reunified soon. If the Korean Peninsula is reunified, we will be a beautiful, happy, and mutually supportive country that will form a ‘new civilization.’”

The event “North and South Korea Write a Message for One Family” was held after the performances. Visitors to the art exhibition, ranging from teenagers to elderly people in their 70s, wrote messages of support for reunification and creating a new country and a new civilization where the vision of the Korean Dream is realized.

“I hope that unification will come, and I will be happy to meet my separated family members. Both of my parents are no longer alive, but their hometown is Gyeongsu,” wrote a woman in her 70s’ showing that citizens are longing for unification and missing their families.

GPW continuously works towards the realization of the vision of “One Family under God,” starting with strengthening families in the international community to create a world of peace. Women play a central and important role in the culture of the extended family. The role of women in the home has been, is, and always will be binding and nurturing all family members with love.

GPF and GPW jointly support the reunification of the Korean Peninsula to realize the vision of the Korean Dream, which can only be completed when it is combined with Korea’s unique extended family culture.

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