The 2018 Modern Korean Art Festival kicked off on Monday, giving art lovers and collectors insight into the diverse nature of Korean art.

The festival adds to the increasing number of exhibitions organised by local art galleries and creatives recently.

Some 102 Korean artists are showcasing their work at The Empire Hotel and Country Club, with pieces priced from a few hundred to a few thousand Brunei dollars. A portrait of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, created by artist Park Jin Woo, carries a $15,000 price tag.

The four-day festival — which is is a collaboration between Brunei Art Forum, Creative Space gallery and the Korean Embassy — is expected to attract a wide range of visitors from art students, veteran artists and prominent businessmen.

Dk Elena Pg Timbang, a final year art and creative technology student at Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD), said under-appreciation of the arts is still a persistent issue in the sultanate.

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“The festival is an opportunity to open the minds of Bruneians to see that art can be something here,” she said. “What we can see is Korean artwork [being] incorporated into their culture… It’s important for young artists [in Brunei] to know that we need to include it as part of our culture so that our arts can be appreciated and accepted.”

The exhibition covers themes of nature and culture, showcasing a diverse range of painting techniques from oil, watercolour and acrylic to the use of coloured stone dust on Korean paper.

For Kim Hye Jin, her artwork represents memories of her mother. The South Korean artist and actress said she finds comfort in remembering her mother, who she lost at age two, through her paintings. Her pieces revolve around the theme “A woman is a moment, but a mother remains forever”.

“[The] beauty of women is short, but a great mother exists forever. The reason why people deeply sympathise with my works is that we are all longing for our mothers helplessly,” she said.

The 2018 Korean Modern Art Festival, which is facilitated by Sinar Tour Sdn Bhd, will run until January 18. The exhibition is open to the public from 9am to 9pm.

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