Friday, May 09, 2008

Korea's Beautiful Old Women

This is a report from CSIS: According to the latest government projections, 38 percent of Korea’s population will be elderly by 2050, putting it in contention with Japan, Italy, and Spain for the oldest country on earth.

The photos below are from the on-going exhibit of Kim Tae Sung called "Missing Mother", at the Jang So Mugaksa, Buddhist Temple located at the 518 Memorial Park in Gwangju. It will run until May 19, 2008. The exhibit is part of the celebration of Buddha's Birthday. I have seen the photos last year in May at the Old Provincial Hall of downtown Gwangju.

I took these photos because I like the surrealist effect of black and white with the carnation attached to their portrait. Surrealism - well perhaps most of them were born during its heyday. And last year these photos were exhibited in a dilapidated rooms of the Old Provincial Hall (soon to be renovated as part of the culture complex) a surrealist juxtaposition of aging with the age old building, giving me goose pimples of what it would be like to be their age. The photos shows they are still into hard work even at their age. Although there were photos of them laughing and smiling most of the shots in black and white depicts them with a somber look.

Definitely the rural scene here in Korea belongs to them. They work in the farms and produces those products mostly consumed by us living in the cities. In 2005 I had a chance to stay for a weekend in a farming village and I was so surprised not to see kids or children running around and playing and I was told that some elementary schools had closed down because no more young children goes to school.

Their children, educated prefer to stay and live in the cities. So those Korean men who prefer to stay in the farm have to look for foreign brides among Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Filipinos and lately Cambodia. Since most Korean women, very educated would prefer to reside in the cities than in the villages where some of them were born and raised, this is the same case with educated men.

However, report shows a steady increase in the birth rate and a large number is contributed by multiethnic families. But projection tells that old age will still catch up with the newborns.


Morningangel said...

How wonderful that the photographer, Kim Tae Sung, found the beauty in the age of those women.

Women are beautiful!!!!!!!!

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