Ihwa-dong Art Hunt

Back in 2006, the Ministry of Culture & Tourism decided it was time to improve neglected regions of the city and one of the neighborhoods chosen was Ihwa-dong near Hyewha Station. Through a project dubbed Art in City 2006, along with ten other areas throughout the country, Ihwa-dong was to be transformed by a group of artists. Some 6 years later some of the murals have survived, though maybe not for long. The area has been designated for redevelopment and buildings are already being demolished and rebuilt. Older buildings have been white washed and so finding the murals that once lined the road is now a bit like a scavenger hunt.

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Always in the mood to play a game, even if it’s with myself, I hit the pavement to find some art and dragged Jae-oo along. Heading out of Hyewha Station exit 2 and turning left into the neighborhood, the hunt was on. After two roads of restaurants, cafes and theaters we chanced upon a massive and colorful mural and thought the jaunt would be easy enough. If we found this one so easily the rest couldn’t be far behind. Following this mural up and into the alley, however, we realized it was just this one and there were no more in this alley. Or, if there were at some point, there weren’t anymore.

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Coming back down past this mural, we turned right and headed past a couple dead end roads to a road that went up towards Naksan Park. Along this road we found some art installations and though the air was chilly, this road was a good size hill, so we were warm by the time we reached Naksan Park and followed the road alongside it.

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We found some stairs that had been painted, but unfortunately the paint is peeling and with no upkeep after this winter I’m not sure anyone else will be able to see the art on the steps anymore. At this point we ran into two other couples who were out looking for murals and compared notes, where we’d come from, where they’d come from and headed down some steps together toward where an ajumma directed us all. Unfortunately, she didn’t give us very good directions and the next hour was spent in search without finding much.

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It was a good day to take a walk and aside from the murals, we got to see all of the posters for what is playing in the theater district here. I recommend taking a wander in the area. There are plenty of good restaurants, Naksan Park is beautiful and you might just find some art along the way.

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Check out my post on Ant Village for another area that was painted to restore some beauty the the neighborhood.

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