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Veterans Appreciation Month spotlight Updated: 2016-06-28 14:09:37 KST

Media artist Park Kyung-Kun was the recipient of Leeum Samsung Museum of Art's second ARTSPECTRUM Award, a recognition that puts the spotlight on promising emerging-artists.
For his latest video-project titled "Gundae: Portrait of 600,000" he explores the subject of Korea's mandatory military-service and its impact on the current generation of Korean men.
Park, who spent most of his life abroad, admits that his own service left a lasting impression on him.

" It was very different from how I experienced my life, kind of like a reverse culture shock. At the same time, there was a sense of belonging that I didn't have before."

Park hopes his work can convey a more intimate understanding of military culture.

"I wanted to capture the relationship between the individual and the collective. Overall I wanted to make a piece that takes the audience through the emotional state of being a soldier."

The wounds and stories of war have also been portrayed in a more solemn manner.

This is a photograph of Salvatore Scalatto, a 79 year old Korean War veteran.
Photographer Kim Seung-woo's current project is to take funerary portrait of war veterans to convey their war wounds and stories through pictures.
Scalatto gladly agreed to be part of Kim's vision.

"I told him that my purpose was to symbolize his portrait, to make it stand for the unspeakable trauma that veterans went through during the war."

Kim has taken 53 of these portraits so far.

"I read somewhere that over 39% percent of Korean college students don't know the exact year that the Korean war started. Meanwhile, the veterans that I met remember even the smallest, briefest details."

The month of June is coming to an end, but the artists' appreciation of war veterans will continue to shine through their works.
Park will turn his 17-minute project to a full-length movie in 2017.
Meanwhile, Kim has promised to get more veterans involved with his current photography project.

Kim Jung-soo, Arirang News.
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