SEOUL – Literary exhibition dedicated to Karel Čapek and Jaroslav Seifert
27.02.2009 / 07:44
On February 17, 2009 Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the Republic of Korea, H.E. Mr. Jaroslav Olša, jr. opened a double exhibition dedicated to life and work of Czech writers Karel Čapek and Jaroslav Seifert.
Professor Kim Kyuchin and Ambassador of the Czech Republic H.E. Mr. Jaroslav Olša, jr.
photo: Monica Kim, The Korea Times
In the opening ceremony, which took place in Korea Foundation Cultural Center, many eminent personalities took part – among others famous Korean poet Oh Se-young, who poetry for Czech language translations; Kwon Je-il, who translated poems by Jaroslav Seifert into the Korean language; and Kim Kyuchin, vice-rector at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (HUFS) and translator of Karel Čapek’s pieces.
The opening was attended by around 100 visitors (including 17 ambassadors), such a high turnout was also determined by the fact that the exhibition was co-organised by Seoul Literary Society. The society currently comprises diplomats and Korean authors deeply interested in literary and cultural cooperation which was initiated by H.E. Mr.Lars Vargö (Swedish ambassador, poet, and translator from the Japanese language) a few years ago.
Main “star” among the visitors was Ko Un, Korean pore who is well-known to Czech readers, and who is also a well-regarded candidate for the Nobel Prize. In addition, many Czech-Korean translators and several Korean publishers participated in the exhibition as well. We hope that this exhibition will raise interest in new reprints of Čapek’s books. Furthermore, a group of Korean authors and translators of science fiction took part in the exhibition as well. Whereas Karel Čapek is a very popular author among Korean bohemists, now he can reach the attention of regular Korean readers of science fiction (also thanks to this exhibition).
The exhibition was co-sponsored by Korean company Mostitech, which is one of the major producers of robots in Korea. The company provided us with its three products representing a new generation of robots designed for home use. Moreover, initial exhibition was also supplemented by twenty books by Karel Čapek and Jaroslav Seifert – both in Czech and in couple of foreign language translations. For the purpose of this event, four new screens in Korean were created. These screens contain basic information on the above mentioned authors, illustrations of Korean translations of poems by J. Seifert and commentary on reception of Čapek’s work in Korea. Finally, the visitors were shown newer and older Korean translations of Čapek’s books, including the copy of the first Korean translation of R. U. R. dating to the 1920s.
The day right after opening of the exhibition, an unknown Korean visitor decorated the verge in front of Jaroslav Seifert’s portrait with bunch of flowers.