A little bit of Paraguay in Korea

Tonight I attended the grand opening of an exhibit at the Gallery Bellarte in Seoul featuring paintings by Paraguayan artist Ernan Miranda.  My family will be heading to Paraguay next year for two years, so I was excited to join the festivities and catch a glimpse of Paraguayan art and culture right here in Korea.  The crowd included a mixture of Korean and foreign dignitaries.  I met the Paraguayan Ambassador to Korea and his deputy, both of whom are very cordial gentlemen who talked to me for a bit about Paraguay.  We briefly talked about my upcoming trip to Paraguay.  Both asked me if I played soccer.  Um, not really, I thought, but of course  I tapdanced around that question by saying that I haven’t played for a long, long (long) time.  Perhaps I’ll have to buy a pair of cleats and learn quickly how to play the game–when I get to Paraguay.  I hope that I have an opportunity to meet them again.  We could very likely cross paths again in Korea or in Paraguay.  Paraguay is not a large country.
The paintings were exquisite, bright, colorful, and filled with eye-catching scenes of everyday life.  Fruit, especially a solitary papaya, played a prominent theme in some of the paintings.  The images seemed to rise from the canvas in almost a third dimension, tempting the onlooker to reach out and grab them from the air.  Mr. Miranda is indeed a master painter.  I’m happy to see that Paraguayan art and culture has made its way from South America to a place not often associated with Latin American culture.  Paraguay has a small Korean community, many of whom are expatriates whom moved there to seek prosperity following the Korean War.  Korea does not have many Paraguayan expats beyond the Paraguayan Embassy.  However, exhibits such as Mr. Miranda’s will help the two countries better understand one another and forge a stronger relationship between the two cultures.
Blog Notes:  Today my family and I will venture to Jeju Island for three days.  I will probably be offline during this time and will write again when I return about our adventures.  Dear Reader, please have a wonderful, labor-free Labor Day weekend.

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