Korean Hangul alphabet inspires artwork to celebrate International Literacy Day

An exhibition to be held at UNESCO HQ from 7 to 11 September to celebrate International Literacy Day takes the Republic of Korea Hangul alphabet as its theme.

The show, Beginning of the Bright, by well-known sculptural artist Ran Hwang is presented in the context of the UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize, one of two prizes awarded by UNESCO annually to celebrate literacy worldwide on September 8.

The pieces take as inspiration the vowels and consonants of the native language Hangul and incorporates well known French and Korean monuments such as the Arc de Triomphe and Namdaemum, one of the great fortress gates in Seoul. The work will be accompanied by music and videos of the exhibits being made.

The King Sejong Literacy Prize was established in 1989 and honours the creator of the native Korean alphabet Hangul established over 500 years ago. The prize, which consists of two awards, gives special consideration to the development and use of mother tongue literacy education and training in developing countries. UNESCO has long established ties with the Republic of Korea and played a role through education in its reconstruction after the war.

Hwang is a Bachelor in Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts in New York and a Master in Fine Arts from Chung-Ang University in Seoul. She is well known for working in materials, buttons and thread, an inspiration from her time in the fashion industry.

The exhibition is one of many events including the awarding of this year’s literacy prizes which will take place at UNESCO HQ and worldwide to celebrate International Literacy Day on September 8.