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[25 Apr 2008 | No Comment | ]

To the Wolof, music is a thing of intense power and meaning. In the past, only wandering musicians known as griots were allowed to perform it. Through their songs they recounted historical events, told stories, transmitted oral traditions and recited poetry. That music was driven by the powerful beat of African drums, which in Wolof culture were played to do everything from casting spells, communicating with other villages and even healing the insane. Though the times have changed, there’s one thing that hasn’t: this music still has the power …

Art Galleries & Museums, Things to See »

[27 Feb 2008 | 3 Comments | ]

Under thirty-five years of Japanese rule, ended in August 1945, Jeju did not escape unscathed from conflict and occupation. Right across the island, physical remnants of the conflict that almost reached its shores remain.
On its western side is Gamma Oreum with clear, unobstructed views of the coastline and Halla-san. Built into its base are darkened, claustrophobic tunnels that sprawl away for kilometres underground. From this location Japanese forces would direct any defence against a foreign invasion armada.
However, an invasion never came and no defence was ever made.
Today, …

Art Galleries & Museums, Things to See »

[6 Jan 2008 | No Comment | ]

Korea isn’t generally known as a bastion of multiculturalism, and Jeju-do is one of the last places I’d ever expect to find pretty much anything from Africa, let alone an entire museum devoted to the continent. Yet despite this, it is the location of a Museum of African Art.
When you first see the museum it’s an impressive sight, unlike any other building in Korea. The building’s exterior is modelled on the largest mud brick building in the world, the Djenne Grand Mosque in Mali. It’s a visually interesting building, …

Art Galleries & Museums, Things to See »

[17 Dec 2007 | No Comment | ]

What visitor to Jeju hasn’t marvelled at the mysteries and origins of Dolhareubang with their big eyes, round bellies, and secretive grins? In my first few weeks walking around the Island, I never felt like I was truly alone – volcanic rock “Grandfather Stones” peeked out of the grass on the side of roads and stood watch at the foot of bridges and doorways.
People believe that Dolhareubang may be gatekeepers protecting Jeju inhabitants from disease, fertility symbols or even tools of propaganda that represented the political power of shamans …