Exhibit honors role of Koryoin in Korea-Kazakh relations
“The Korean diaspora in Kazakhstan is a very important part of our society,” said Bakyt Dyussenbayev, ambassador of Kazakhstan to Korea, speaking at the Korea Foundation Gallery in Seoul on Thursday.
“In addition to the 30th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Kazakhstan and Korea, this year marks the 85th anniversary of the deportation of the Koreans to Kazakhstan,” he said. “That is why we decided to commemorate this event with the exhibition.”
The exhibition, “Land of Hope,” was organized by the embassy and the Korea Foundation, with cooperation from the Wolgok Goryeoin Culture Center, the Association of Koreans in Kazakhstan and the Koryo Ilbo, an Almaty-based newspaper run by Koroyin community.
Running though Aug. 6, the exhibition highlights the history of forced emigration of over 170,000 Koreans to Central Asia in 1937, through photos taken of the Korean communities resettled across Central Asia or former Soviet Union states, or objects carried by the Koreans on the road such as a tattered suitcase.
Many of them were collected personally by the Wolgok center’s chief, Kim Byeong-hak.
“Some of them, like the suitcase, are objects I came to collect from the Koryoin community in my 25 years of residence in Kazakhstan,” Kim said. “I hope that the exhibition will help more people in Korea understand the difficulties the Koryoin had to endure through the years. They are an important bridge between Kazakhstan and Korea.”
An estimated 100,000 Korean descendants continue to live in Kazakhstan today.
Forced from their homes following an order from the Soviet Union in 1937, thousands of Koreans found a way to survive in the unfamiliar lands by tilling the soil.
In Kazakhstan, the Koryoin community began publishing a newspaper in Korean, the Koryo Ilbo, and staging plays in Korean. The Korean Theater, which was founded in Vladivostok in 1932 remains active today.
In commemoration of the 30th anniversary, the theater staged the play “The Seagull” by Anton Chekhov in Seoul earlier in the week.
“We are honored to be present today at the opening of the exhibition,” said Kim Elena Viktorovna, director of the theater. “The Korean Theater in Kazakhstan is reaching its 90th anniversary this year. We are happy to be showcasing the history of the theater at the exhibition.”
BY ESTHER CHUNG [email@example.com]