“Our Space: Six Perspectives” Photo Exhibition at the Seoul Olympic Parktel - August 1-2, 2008 - is part of the Global Overseas Adoptees’ Link (G.O.A.’L) 10th Anniversary Conference. The exhibition of photos taken by overseas adopted Koreans who returned to their land of birth reveals insights into the shared sense of the familiar and unfamiliar that all adoptees encounter upon returning to Korea. As a “space,” Korea is depicted through landscapes, buildings, bridges, and through the people that inhabit and share this space together. Lia Hyun-joo Barrett (USA) is a graduate of Parsons School of Design, Bachelors of Fine Arts in Photography and Eugene Lang College, Bachelors of Arts in Social and Historical Inquiry in New York. During her most recent visit to Korea, she started an ongoing project of photographing birthmothers with their children. She leaves the images on record with the adoption agency so that adoptees and birthmothers may retrieve the priceless records at a later time. Todd Heckert (USA) is from Minneapolis, Minnesota and studied at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. His photography series of bridges on the Han River represent both the river and the bridges that cross it as vital symbols of Seoul. Sand from the Han was used to make cement for buildings and other concrete structures – including the bridges in Heckert’s photos – during Korea's economic boom in the 1980s. What had been soil below the Han has become a vital part of what links the northern and southern parts of the city above. Raphaël Bourgeois (Belgium) has been living in Korea since 2007. His photographs of peoples’ lives juxtapose common scenes within an uncommon context, revealing insight into the complexities of modern Korea. The familiarity of Namdaemun Gate, charred and burned, lies in the background with a homeless man sleeping in the foreground; a grandmother sits on the sidewalk surrounded by rows of young riot police, are some examples of Bourgeois’ ability to capture how individuals fit into shared experiences and spaces. Eric Perriard (France) is a freelance professional photographer who has worked with UNESCO and had his work widely exhibited and published, including in Le Monde in France. He has traveled throughout the world documenting images. His work in Korea captures landscapes, beach sides, tombs, mountains, and the people who place themselves in everyday activities in those settings. Kim Sperling (Germany) has created works consisting of photographs and interviews of fellow Korean adoptees that have returned from their adoptive countries to live in Korea. He started this project in order to better understand why so many adoptees have decided to return to their land of birth. His portraits show adoptees living in Korea in settings where they are “at home” – their apartments, places of work, and neighborhoods.
Aram Tanis (The Netherlands) has taken black and white photographs that create a portrait of Seoul, which through precise observation includes not only its topography but also reveals the structural elements of its society and economy. Tanis’ images of apartment blocks, expressways, and bridges embody the dynamism of a modern metropolis evoking the “New Seeing” and “New Objectivity” constructivist aesthetic. Tanis was adopted from Korea to the Netherlands and studied at De Ateliers in the Netherlands as well as at the Kaywon School of Art and Design in Korea.
G.O.A.'L is an adoptee-run registered non-governmental organization (NGO) and non-profit organization located in Seoul, Korea. Since 1998, G.O.A.’L has supported overseas adopted Koreans in accessing Korean by bridging barriers of language & culture and advocating for adoptee rights through lobbying the Korean government, providing adoptee-focused post-adoption services, organizing an annual conference addressing adoption issues, publishing a regular bi-lingual newsletter and coordinating public education, networking & social events. Website: http://www.goal.or.kr/