South Korean gift has Vietnam officials scratching their heads

By Vo Thanh, Viet Tuan   April 19, 2019 | 10:40 pm PT
South Korean gift has Vietnam officials scratching their heads
A replica of the Greetingman statue in Ly Tu Trong Park, Hue.
Hue is unable to decide on an appropriate location to install a 6-meter-high statue, a gift offer from South Korea.

The Greetingman statue by sculptor Yoo Young Ho was offered as a gift to Hue by Cho Kwang Han, mayor of Namyangju City over a month ago.

South Korea initially suggested three possible locations for the statute: Dong Ba Market on Tran Hung Dao Street, the Imperial City of Hue and a park near the Huong River in front of the Hue Cultural Center.

But some culture experts say the statue, which carries a message of "respect and understanding" as well as a display of humility from the South Korean people, should not be placed in any of the three locations, citing "architectural and geomantic conflicts."

As the statue is a modern artwork, it should be placed on a street in the new urban area of An Van Duong, said Nguyen Xuan Hoa, former director of Hue’s Department of Culture and Sport.

Tran Dinh Hang, director of the Hue’s branch of the Vietnam National Institute of Culture and Art Studies, also said To Huu Street would a suitable place as it faces a new urban area that is "young, vibrant and full of life."

Artist Tran Khanh Chuong, president of the Vietnam Fine Arts Association, argued that the statue, which depicts a naked man, should not be erected in public places as it would be "inappropriate for Vietnamese culture.

"The Dong Ba Market is a place for buying and selling things, so it’s inappropriate to have a statue there. The Imperial City is a historical heritage for Vietnam, so a naked statue is out of the question.

"I suggest the statue being placed in the Hue Art Museum instead."

However, artist Le Thiet Cuong said the statue’s message of respect and humility is much needed in Vietnam right now. "Hue’s cultural scene would be so much better with modern artwork."

Other suggested places include Ly Tu Trong Park, Da Vien Park and Thua Thien Hue’s provincial sports center.

Authorities have yet to decide whether or not to accept the statue, said Hue Town mayor Nguyen Van Thanh.

"We are waiting for provincial authorities to decide; the answer would be given by the end of April," Thanh said.

Hue Town is the capital of the central province of Thua-Thien Hue.

go to top