Gwangju Blog

2014 Gwangju Biennale to Come to an End on November 9th


The 2014 Gwangju Biennale in which it exhibits world-class artworks submitted by highly acclaimed domestic and international artists will come to an end on Sunday, November 9th.

Having been taking place since September 5th with the theme, ‘Burning Down the House’, the ongoing Biennale is one of the five most influential Biennales in the world.

Gwangju Biennale celebrated the 20th year anniversary since its initial establishment this year and takes place once in every two years.

Gwangju Biennale Foundation was firstly created to inherit so called ‘Gwangju Spirit’ that defines and identified Gwangju as a pro-democratic city since the 1980 May 18th Democratization Movement.

As with the previously held Gwangju Biennales, this year’s Biennale showcased artworks that engaged with historical and political context of Gwangju with unique and creative artworks.

A total of 413 artworks turned in by 111 artists from 38 different countries are currently on display and the exhibition will last until this Sunday, November 9th.

Various different artworks currently on display at Gwangju Biennale go beyond the conventional artistic boundaries through performance, movie, theatre art, music, installation, construction and media art aimed at expressing challenges against the established institutions and customs and traditions.

This is your last chance to take advantage of world-class artworks at home in Gwangju so make sure to check the exhibitions out before it ends on November 9th.

What to do this Weekend: Scary Pumpkins Edition


Photo courtesy of Yujin Lee of Gatsby.

Photo courtesy of Yujin Lee of Gatsby.

The 2014 Gwangju Design Week starts on Oct. 30 and runs for 30 days at the Gwangju Design Center and will feature the participation of local design associations, universities, and business corporations. Starting off with the ‘Bitgeul Handicraft Fair’, the event will be divided into 9 categories of design exhibitions, contests, and design academic forums, as well as design workshops, which will be held throughout the Gwangju Design Week. The main exhibition includes ‘2014 Bitgoeul Handicraft Fair’, set to be held from Oct, 30 to Nov. 2, and the ‘2014 Korea Design Culture Exhibition’ that will be hosted from Nov. 24-28. For more information check out the venue website.

The First Alleyway is kicking off their weekend Oct. 31 with Friday Sangria Night and Trick or Taco. Come enjoy a chill evening with a pitcher of sangria for 18,000 won, made with their South African wine on tap. Treat yourself to any 3 tacos for 10,000. There will be other drink specials throughout the evening and all day Saturday Nov. 1 as well. For more information check out their Facebook page.

Photo courtesy of the Dongu District Office.

Photo courtesy of the Dongu District Office.

The Dongu District Office is sponsoring a Halloween party at the Gatsby Cafe (9th floor Sky lounge) in downtown Oct. 31 from 5 P.M.-9 P.M on the patio. There will be Halloween cookies, art, Free tarot card readings, a costume contest with prizes, and special performances. For more information or for directions, check out the event poster or call Josh at 010-4807-5612.

There will be a free concert on Oct. 31 at 7 P.M. to celebrate the achievements of the East Asian Cultural City. The city of Gwangju, along with the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, and the East Asia Cultural Committee, will be hosting the event at the Gwangju Culture and Art Center in Unnam dong with the theme, “Gwangju’s Dream.” There will be Traditional Chinese hand puppet performances by the Chinese Intangible Cultural Asset and piano performance by Xiamen University in Quanzhou. Gwangju’s East Asian partnering city in China, Quanzhou will showcase China’s traditional hand puppet show by the Yokohama city in Japan will stage modern dance and musical performance. Gwangju will put up various musical performances of Korea’s traditional percussion sound mixed with media art and choir stage by Gwangju Municipal Choir.

Photo courtesy of Club Nevermind.

Photo courtesy of Club Nevermind.

Club Nevermind near Daein Market downtown will be hosting a hip-hop competition Do the Right Rap on Oct. 31 starting at 8 P.M. Featured acts include Mild Beats, Avantgarde Vak, High Flies, Jay Kidman, and Code Kunst. There is a cover, which the staff and organizers will donate to charity. For more information check out the venue website.

Tequilaz downtown will be running Halloween food and drink specials this weekend. From 9 P.M.-12 A.M. on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 there will offering up special happy hours prices on tacos, beer, margaritas and more. Bring cash to take advantage of these specials. Check out the Facebook event page for more details.

Club Panfic downtown is having a Halloween party Oct. 31 from 10 P.M.-7 A.M. Call 1899-5514 for reservations and check out the club’s website.

Photo courtesy of GFOG.

Photo courtesy of GFOG.

The Global Families of Gwangju Group is having a kid’s Halloween party on Nov. 1 from 1-5 P.M. at the Kwangju Foreign School. There will be games, a haunted house, a monster mash dance party, crafts, snacks and a booth selling baked goods. For more information about admission and foods that can be purchased during the event, check out this price list and the Facebook event page.

Speakeasy is holding their annual Halloween party on Nov. 1 from 7 P.M.-3:30 A.M. Everybody’s favorite Gwangju band, Malarkey, will be tearing up the joint, followed by the musical stylings of DJ Travvi G from GFN. There will be a costume contest with prizes at 10:30, and drink specials throughout the night. Check out the Facebook event for more information.

Photo coutesy of the Gwangju Culture and Art Center.

Photo coutesy of the Gwangju Culture and Art Center.

The Gwangju Museum of Dance is performing Don Quixote at the Gwangju Culture and Art Center Nov. 6 and 7 at 7:30 P.M. Suggested age for the performance is 7 and up, and tickets are priced at 30,000, 20,000, and 10,000 won depending on your seat selection. Call 062-522-8716 for more information or to reserve tickets, or check out the venue website.

Meet Korean Tradition in Yangrim-dong, Gwangju at the Choi Seung-hyo House

Believed to have been belonged to Gwangju-native local wealthy man, Choi Sang-hyun during the late Joseon dynasty that lasted until the early 19th century, the Choi Seung-hyo House still exists in Namgu’s Yangrim-dong, inviting visitors to take a look and experience Korea’s modern history.

Built in the Korean traditional method for Hanok housing equipped with glazed red roof tiles, the house is known to have served as a main place of refuge for independence activists during the Japanese occupation of Korea in the 1920s.

Originally built by Mr. Choi Sang-hyun, the house used to be called Yangrim-dong the Wealthy Man Choi’s House until the 1920s, and hid a number of regional independence activists in its loft.

However, with the industrialization of modern Gwangju, Choi’s family fortune declined and Mr. Choi Seung-hyo bought out the house in 1965.

Mr. Choi Seung-hyo, who was one of the establishing members of Gwangju MBC, a local broadcasting station, bought out the house in 1965 and turned it into a municipal heritage site where everyone could come and watch the traditional beauty of Korean housing known as Hanok.

Now entitled the ‘Choi Seung-hyo’ House, the house was designated as Gwangju’s Municipal Folk Cultural Heritage no. 2, and it also features various different artworks produced by the third son of Mr. Choi Seung-hyo inside and outside of the house.

The house is also situated on a large amount land, stretching out some 300 square kilometers along with vast hiking path, bamboo garden, and art gallery, as well as the Mt. Mudeung observatory area.

News of the Week: October 30, 2014

Former LG Twins Manager Kim Gi-tae Appointed as New Kia Tigers Manager

Gwangju’s professional baseball team, Kia Tigers, signed a three-year deal with the former LG Twins manager Kim Gi-tae after its formerly re-approved manager, Sun Dong-yeol, resigned last week.

The Kia Tigers explained that Kim has agreed to a three-year term as manager of the Tigers team with an annual salary of 250 million won.

Kim previously managed the LG Twins, taking the team to their first postseason in 11 years last year.

However, as the team began the 2014 season with poor records earlier this year, Kim resigned in April.

A Gwangju native, the new manager is expected to rebuild the team’s overall atmosphere and improve its record following a disappointing rank of 8th among the nine Korean professional baseball teams for two years in a row.

Kim never played for the Tigers team in his 15 seasons in Korean baseball, but is one of the biggest baseball stars to hail from Gwangju as he led the league in home runs in 1994 and won the batting title in 1997.


Gwangju Education Office Reviewing Abolishment of Placement Test for Middle and High schools

The Educational Office in Gwangju is reportedly reviewing the abolishment of the placement test at local middle and high schools.

According to the office, various measures to improve the educational environment in Gwangju are under review right now and removing placement tests, originally aimed at evenly assigning students in all ranges of academic ability to all classes in the curriculum, has been suggested.

Educational authorities in Gwangju insist that the placement test has been one of the major causes of burdening students and parents with private education fees for supplemental learning.

In addition, authorities pointed out that placement tests create unnecessary competition among students and that the level of difficulty for the exams is too high, causing students to lose interest in studying even before the start of the semester.

However, those opposing the abolishment of the test argue that there are positive functions of the placement test, such as the equal distribution of students in each class in terms of academic records and so there could be confusion in educational surroundings upon the sudden removal of the test.


Gwangju to Prepare Integrative Plans to Reduce Traffic Accidents

The city of Gwangju has announced a recent set of measures and plans to minimize traffic accidents in an effort to improve the traffic environment in the city.

Aimed at reducing the total number of traffic accidents by 20 percent, from 129 cases per 10,000 cars in the city this year to 103 cases in 2018, the city will encourage citizens to voluntarily take part in a protection of life movement and conduct analysis on measures necessary for improving transportation infrastructure.

12 detailed plans for minimizing traffic accidents, including protecting those at risk in traffic accidents, reinforcing the safe management of automobiles, and improving emergency rescue operations, have been prepared.

In Gwangju, a total of 8,036 cases of traffic accidents occurred last year alone, resulting in 111 deaths and 14,000 injured.


Gwangju to Install Outdoor Skate Rink in City Hall Culture Square

The city of Gwangju will install an outdoor skating rink just outside the city hall culture square following last year’s success in the operation of the first outdoor skating rink in Gwangju.

The city has explained it will complete the selection process for the main operator of the rink by the end of this month and begin construction in November, with completion scheduled for December.

Stretching out some 1,800 square meters, the rink will be equipped with safety poles and handrails as well as safety guards for the convenience of visitors.

Last year alone, an outdoor skate rink was opened for a total of 65 days and some 95,000 citizens in Gwangju made a visit to the rink.

The skate rink will be opened for public use on December 24th.

Where to Eat Wednesday: FamilRes

There are days when we know exactly what we want to eat for dinner, and days when indecisiveness leaves us wanting to eat anything and everything without being forced to make a choice. For days that lean closer to the latter, it’s nice to know that places like buffets are available.

Elevator SignInside

I originally attempted to visit FamilRes in Suwan, which I’m sure is a play on the words “Family Restaurant”, months ago. Unfortunately, due to it being a Saturday evening, the place was packed to the brim. After being told that it would possibly be over an hour before we could get a seat, I opted to go elsewhere for dinner. The scenario completely changed when I went back recently on a Tuesday evening. What I originally saw as a restaurant filled with families and noise was now quiet and mostly empty. Though the silence was a little awkward, it was nice to know that I wouldn’t have to wait for a table.

As soon as my dining partner and I were seated, we were given permission to go nuts. Since I wanted to try everything, I made it a point to not load up too much on any one food for my first run around the buffet. What ended up on my plate was an interesting combination of sushi, rice, different proteins that had been cooked in different ways, and other random, familiar munchies. During the journey, I noticed a severe lack of labels with certain dishes, leaving me uncertain of what exactly I’d be getting. I also wasn’t crazy about how long some of the food looked like it had been left out, though that was to be expected when considering how empty the restaurant was.

His First PlateMy First Plate

When it came to tasting the food, the majority of the experience ranged anywhere from decent to somewhat positive. Due to my picky nature, I wasn’t feeling too adventurous with some of the raw options, leaving my plate looking rather…brown. That being said, I found myself going back for the meatier options. The only downside was finding surprise fish in some of the unlabeled items I had mistakenly assumed was pork or chicken. Though my company didn’t seem to mind, I can see how this would potentially ruin the experience for certain people.


About halfway through our meal, the cooks had apparently fired up some steaks. Most of the nicer buffets I’ve been to usually have it set up so that customers can come and wait in line for freshly cooked steaks, which are available every half hour or so. Due to the limited number of people in the restaurant, the waiters were kind enough to go from table to table with plates of sauced up beef and vegetables, offering a fair amount to anyone that wanted it. As someone who loves beef and hates waiting in lines, the gesture was more than welcome. Though it could have used a little more salt, the steak itself was pretty nice and wasn’t overcooked in the least.

My Second PlateDessert

As the night went on, I made it a point to leave room for dessert. The little area filled with sweets had everything from cakes to chocolate fondue. The sweeter, creamier goods were quite delicious, but I personally found anything with a bread-like texture to be rather dry. I also wasn’t crazy about the yogurt, which had some extra flavors I couldn’t quite figure out.

Overall, my visit to FamilRes left my tummy full and my wallet light. Due to the large number of seats and food options available, I could see the draw for families and big parties. As with most buffets, ones experience may vary depending on how busy it is at the time of arrival. If you’re going to go on a typically busy night, be prepared to wait. Either way, be sure to come hungry.

Address: 광주광역시 광산구 장덕동 1302 수영빌딩 10층 (across the street from Lotte Mart)
Phone: 062-953-2180
Hours: 11:30PM to 9:30PM
Average Price Range: 19,800 for lunch (opening to 3:00PM), 24,600 for dinner (5:30PM to closing), 29,200 for weekends and holidays