Gwangju Blog

Where Reality and Animation Meet

Raqib Hasan Apu was once a young boy in Dhaka, Bangladesh, reading his favorite comic books about Spider-Man, Batman, and everyone else in the Marvel/D.C. worlds. He would recreate the illustrations in his free time, and soon began to mimic the style of other textbooks lying around the house. It wasn’t a conscious decision to be an artist, it just resonated with him as a way to communicate what was in his heart and mind. Fast forward to 2017, and Raqib’s passion for art has evolved into a career as a professional animator who uses his experience in this world to create his own.

raqib self

Raqib Hasan Apu

Although Raqib had no formal training in art throughout his adolescence, he poured himself into it as a hobby while he was growing up. When it came time to select a field at university, he chose to pursue a fine arts degree with a major in sculpture. During this time, he was not only able to enhance his skills, but also studied the depths of art history from around the world. This refined level of skill and knowledge landed him several career opportunities as an animator and production designer in Bangladesh.

In 2012, he furthered his studies by enrolling at Korea National University of the Arts where he focused on film and multimedia in addition to his concentration on animation. The program is known as one of the best in Asia, and helped to land Raqib at Chung-Ang animation studio here in Gwangju where he has been happily creating animated TV series such as Galaxy Kids over the last two years.

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Self Portrait from Synergy Exhibition

But the creativity doesn’t stop when Raqib leaves work, he is constantly brainstorming and creating during his free time for his independent projects. There is no separating the man from his art. He explains, “Art is like your eyes, nose, ears, and mouth. It helps to see, smell, listen, and speak. Without those senses, we can be alive, but we are more like a still life.” Just as Raqib appreciates the creations of artists from around the world, he puts no limit on where his imagination will take him.

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Another Self Portrait from the Synergy Exhibition




There are often themes of adventurous heroism, world politics, sexuality, and snippets of his day to day life, but he embraces every experience without reservations. “To me, creativity can challenge someones beliefs, morality, and society’s rules, and also simultaneously influence a new way to think of life. In my life journey, I’ve always tried to understand the beauty of nature, the diversity of humans, and their relationship. Through my art work, I try to reflect my experiences and my expressions.”




His first short, Day Dream of a Cowboy, was created before Raqib began his studies in Korea, and he has continued to challenge himself and find inspiration.  Currently he is working on an animated short, A Naked Night. The story involves an affair and the vulnerability behind sexual repression. Raqib creates all aspects of his own animations with the exception of the music, so it is safe to say that his creative output is still full steam ahead. While a definite release date has not yet been announced for this short, you can be certain that Raqib’s art will be popping up all around Gwangju and beyond.

People You Should Know in Gwangju…Jo Park

Hello Gwangju! It is once again time to learn about another member of our community. This week we have one of the founding members of the Gwangju Performance Project, a Korean that has just recently returned from some time living in New York (she has also spent time in Michigan and Indiana). This is a community member, a person, you should know in Gwangju!


Name…Jo Park

Occupation…English Instructor2015 Jo in Buffalo


Length of time in Korea…17 years

My hometown is famous for…its fiery people and fierier food.

If I could have any superpower it would be…Time manipulation.

A book I read once a year is…This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett

The show I am most likely to binge watch is…The Office (U.S.)

The best discovery I have made in Gwangju is…the new walking paths with all kinds of plants near 산수.

19398651_10102857312060682_375626753_nWhat is your surefire way to beat the blues when you are feeling homesick? Find good food. You gotta eat anyway.

What is the oddest job you have ever had? Phone monkey at a financial advisor recruitment firm.

Describe your dream day in Gwangju. DREAM DAY! To make a day dreamy I’d say I need a pleasantry with a 할머니 or two. Honestly 할머니’s really make my day brighter, they’re the true inspiration for a little ol’ Korean gal like me.

Are there any places/services/experiences in Gwangju you can recommend that a lot of people may not know about? There is a place called 광주극장 or Cinema Gwangju (is the English name I found online), and they play critically acclaimed films that did not do well at the box office in Korea. It’s worth checking out as it is the last single-auditorium cinema left in the city, and its architecture is memorably vintage and grandiose.19249999_10102857312070662_1063143354_o

What are some future plans that you have for your organization? Running sound for the wonderful David St. John and Boipelo Seswane. They are directing a two-part production called Counterparts. It’s at 광주아트홀 (Gwangju Art Hall) on 충장로 (Chungjang-ro) from June 17th to 25th. See you there!


The shows are running this Saturday(June 24) at 3pm/7pm and on Sunday (June 25) at 3pm. Tickets are available at the door, or they can be reserved:

Move Along.

Moving Along.


The photo submission for this week in mid-June comes to us from south of Gwangju. As the hills roll out of Nam-gu, past Innocity and onwards through Naju, they slowly give way to vertile farming areas around Hwasun. Marked by low ridges with rolling hills between, this area makes for several days well spent in search of new imagery. The other week, I found myself in this area after weekday rains graced this part of the peninsula. The grasses, weeds, and the odd wildflower greeted me with vibrant greens, and an air heavy with pollinated goodness.

Scattered in and amongst the rice paddies which dominate this area sits the occasional animal farm. At this particular spot, I found several small cow farms nestled in adjacent succession at the end of a dead-end downhill road. As you can see represented towards the top of the image above, the barns were surrounded by fruit trees amid a larger expanse of long grasses. An interesting composition presented itself as large swathes of recently cut grasses lay in highlighted horizontal strips across the hillside. It took just a minute to exit my car, take a light reading, and find my preferred framing for the scene above. However, my finger paused gently on the shutter button. Something was not quite right. Perhaps it was the lack of contrast in the foreground grass which I knew might still show on the negative even after pushing this Kodak T-max one stop past it’s 400iso rating. Or, my reluctance could have resulted from a secret desire to see some action somewhere in the frame. The bottom third of the frame, for example, just craved action.

Situated below the farm at the road’s end, my ears heard a sound which I could yet see. A low humming to my left quickly crescendoed into a rattletrap roar of sorts as overweight tractor with steaming guts slowly came into view. I looked quickly off-camera to find that this beast granted me only several seconds to either capture my preconceived image, or to go with this evolving image-in-the-making. I chose the latter. Above is the image which resulted from brief, decisive moment. A mechanical arm juts out into the scene from the left of the image. Given its surroundings, it is both alien and familiar. Its’ metallic, shadowy texture seems at home with the background barn. Yet it also seems utterly out of place amid the organic lines dominating the rest of the frame. That being said, it provides a convenient focal point for our eyes. As it bisects the highlighted and mid-toned regions of the frame, it also opens its mechanical hand facing rightward. As if to say “nothing to see here, move along….move along”, it therefore gently pushes our eye back towards the center of the frame. After winding to the next frame, I lingered for several minutes before indeed moving along.


[Image taken with a Hasselblad 503cxi with a 180mm f3.5 telephoto lens while shooting T-max 400 pushed to 800iso.]


(Photo & Text by Marty Miller)


What to Do This Weekend: Trivia, The Charity Cup, and Counterparts!

Hello Gwangju!

Are you ready for the weekend? I know, silly question! Let’s see what’s happening in your town.

Thursday, June 15th

Courtesy of Speakeasy

Courtesy of Speakeasy

Trivia night is on again this Thursday, and it’s always a fun way to get your weekend started! Get down to Speakeasy with your team (max. of 5 people), and make use of all that trivia filling up space in your head. The cost is only 5,000 won per team member. If you find yourself without a team, that’s not a problem because you can always find a group to play with. The second place team gets their money back, and the first place team gets the rest. There’s also free shots for a perfect round. Tonight, special guest quiz master Nate Kent will be in charge, and as always the Speakeasy staff is there to keep your glasses full. For more info, please go to the Facebook event page. Good luck!

Saturday, June 17th

Courtesy of Gwangju Art Class

Courtesy of Gwangju Art Class

This Saturday’s art class will start at the GIC as usual, but most of it will take place outdoors. The reason why is because they are going to have a summer photo walk. This event will be open to all levels of photographers. The class will start promptly at 12:45 will a short intro on photo composition. After that, participants will head to Mudeungsan to walk around and take some photos! Now the cost of the class is free, but you will need some bus money (or a transit card) in order to get to Mudeungsan. For directions to the GIC, please go to their website. You can also get more details by going to their Facebook event page here. The photo walk will be led by guest teacher Katie Williams.

Courtesy of Gwangju Inter FC

Courtesy of Gwangju Inter FC

Gwangju organizations have held a lot of charity fundraisers, but we have a new one that is happening this Saturday- the first Gwangju Charity Cup!  Eight confirmed teams, including our own Gwangju Inter FC will be participating in a mini tournament that will take place in neighboring Naju. This is an all day event that will start at 9-and go until 6 p.m. The money raised during this event will go to support the MDream orphanage. Gwangju Inter needs its fans to come out and support them! Now you can get all the other information you need by going to the Facebook event page. It’s going to be a great day of football, and like many of the events here in the area, it’s all for a great cause. Good luck to Gwangju Inter FC this weekend, and we hope you raise a lot of money.

Courtesy of the GPP

Courtesy of the GPP

For those fans of live theater, the Gwangju Perfromance Project (GPP) brings you their summer production, Counterparts. Counterparts is made up of two, one act plays: Commencing, by Jane Sheppard, and The Dumb Waiter, by Harold Pinter. Both plays are acted and directed by local talent. Advance tickets for this weekend’s shows: June 17th 3 p.m., and 7 p.m., June 18th 3 p.m. are available until 5 p.m. June 16th. Advance tickets for next weekend’s shows, (same time) are also available as well. To make your reservations, email For more info about the performances, you can go to the GPP’s website: You can also get more details by going to their Facebook event page. Support local theater by going to see Counterparts this weekend!

Sunday, June 18th

Courtesy of Gwangju Animal Shelter Volunteering

Courtesy of Gwangju Animal Shelter Volunteering

Want to help out at a local dog shelter, as well as get some exercise? Then you need to join up with a dedicated group of volunteers as they head to a local animal shelter. To find out more information, please go to their Facebook page.



GFN currently has two recruitment opportunities, one as a Baseball commentator (applications close tomorrow 15th June) ;  and the other in scouting talented bands to perform at the GFN Rock band concert in conjunction with the World Youth Festival which will happen on the 29th of July at the ACC downtown.


Firstly if you are interested in the Baseball position here are the details. The position is for about 3 months and will broadcast live from Kia Champions field.

Sports Commentator Wanted!

We are looking for a foreigner commentator for the live broadcasting of the KIA games on Gwangju Foreign-Language Network.

In order to submit your entry:

  1. Choose one of KIA’s games
  2. Record your commentary on the game’s video file
  3. Send the recording to

by 15th June along with a brief written self introduction.





The Live entertainment team are currently scouting the land for 6 foreign bands who will appear on stage at the World Youth Festival which will take place at the Asia culture Culture Centre on the 29th of July 2017. So if you are in a band or know of some talented bands who have foreigner members apply asap ~ once the 6 groups are scouted entries will close.

All you have to do is send us your band and member names, genre of music and any link to your music.

All performers will receive monetary compensation.

You can forward your email to

For more info on both postings please check or the GFN facebook page