This is the third edition of Seoul Museum of Art’s exhibition series “Approaching the Non-West.” The inaugural exhibition in 2015 focused on Africa, followed in 2017 by a focus on Latin America; in 2019, gohyang: home presents contemporary art from the Middle East and Arab world, a region in which memories persist of South Korean construction companies that developed buildings, roads, port facilities, power facilities and telecom infrastructures from the 1970s onward. Today, news reports on the disparate conflicts in this part of the world constantly remind us of the complexity of the region’s socio-historical background. South Korea experienced the current global refugee crisis beginning in 2018, with the arrival on Jeju Island of around 500 Yemeni citizens through the visa-free entry system. The South Korean public hastily leapt to fearful conclusions about these new arrivals, inspired by growing populist anti-refugee rhetoric abroad: fragments of impressions about strangers whom we will never know, although we may misunderstand what we do and do not know.
Art seeks for new methods of weaving together promised or unpromised time in a meaningful way. Accordingly, gohyang:home introduces the diversity of artistic practices from the Middle East and Arab world, encourages participation in sympathy that could be imagined from a Korean perspective and pursues clues that enables us to relate to each other.