Sunday Street Art: Cheonggyecheon, Korea

Located in Seoul, South Korea, Cheonggyecheon is a public recreation area (or 10 kilometre “linear park”) built on the banks of an urban stream that runs through downtown Seoul into the Han River.

Cheonggyecheon in winter

Today the area is an oasis of nature and art frequented by tourists and locals, but 20 years ago the stream was completely buried under a motorway.

In fact, the waterway was hidden from view for over 40 years until 2005, when city officials made the unusual, but ultimately successful decision, to replace traffic with trees, walkways and art installations.

Walking the length of Cheonggyecheon you’ll come across statues, water features, murals and ceramic tile art.

One piece of wall art, made of over 5000 tiles is a replica of the Banchado of King Jeongjo.

The Banchado is an illustrated historical document or “documentary painting” that captures an 8 day royal procession to the tomb of King Jeongjo’s father in Hwaseong.

In it’s original form, it’s a 60 page painted record of every event and every person ( all 1800 of them) involved in the procession.

The tile replica at  Cheonggyecheon is a faithful recreation of the original and provides the opportunity for Korean citizens and tourists to view what is considered to be one of “Korea’s outstanding cultural assets” for free.

Another section of tile art that is also worth a peek is the “Wall of Hope” made up of individual tiles featuring the hopes and wishes of 20,000 Seoul citizens. Even if you don’t read Hangul (Korean script) the images are vivid, striking and unique and it’s easy to spend hours pouring over the 2 metre high, 50 metre length of wall.

Here’s a taste:

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