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KBCE's 'The Ties Through Time' exhibition opens at Fusebox

'The Ties Through Time' is a new exhibition celebrating 140 years of UK-Korea relations. It was organised by the KBCE with support from the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the UK and the British Korea Society, and funding by the Overseas Koreans Foundation and the Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames.

Welcome to a remarkable journey through history. Come and experience a world of enduring diplomatic ties. 'The Ties Through Time' is a grand tribute to 140 years of remarkable cooperation, cultural exchange, and diplomacy between the United Kingdom and Korea. Our journey begins with the first encounter in 1797, followed by early diplomacy from 1883 to 1903 including the UK-Korea Treaty of 1883 and the British Embassy building, a piece of British Heritage abroad in Korea. The exhibition also spotlights Korean delegates' visit to the UK in 1897 and 1902, concluding with the unique presentation of an original painting by Elizabeth Keith and its reinterpretation by Korean Hanbok Designer, Lee Hae Mi.

Step back in time from the past to the present and explore the vital roles played by individuals in strengthening diplomatic ties between the two nations. This exhibition illuminates the past, celebrates the present, and ignites a flame for future relations. It provides a valuable platform for British and Korean citizens to understand, appreciate and learn from each other's heritage and culture. Witness the strength of diplomacy, cultural exchange, and shared values that have united us for over a century.

His Majesty King Charles III received the first preview of the exhibition during his royal visit to New Malden on 8 November 2023 when he graciously signed the exhibition guestbook (photo by Timothy Holm)

Thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate the opening night on 9 November with us, including the Korean Ambassador to the UK (Mr. Yeocheol Yoon), the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Kingston, British diplomats and historians, and many friends, trustees and colleagues as well. KBCE Director Justina Jang did the most hard work to prepare for this event, along with the curator Seoyoung Kim, project manager Suyoung Park, assistant researcher Timothy Holm, graphic designer Jun Kwon, architectural modeling by Jong In Choi, installation by Fusebox, and consultation by Dr Jim Hoare and Dr Cameron Pyke. 3 special Hanbok were designed for the exhibition by Lee Hae Mi (based on an original painting by Elizabeth Keith). The exhibition also features an interview with Andrew Hillier.

Opening Night at Fusebox, 9 Nov (photo by Timothy Holm)

At the opening (hosted by Callum Sol Morrissey), the audience was treated to a great live performance by Daegeum player Hyelim Kim and dancer/calligrapher Suyoung Park as well as a fascinating talk on early UK-Korea relations by Dr Jim Hoare.

The exhibition will continue until 22 November (National Kimchi Day) at Fusebox in Kingston (2 Buckland's Wharf, KT1 1TF). Admission is free, but a £5 donation is welcomed. For more information see the Creative Youth website here:

It should also be noted that this exhibition is only the beginning, as we eagerly anticipate the next chapter in the UK and Korea story. For the first time, a sister exhibition will be held in Korea at the Seoul Hall of Urbanism and Architecture from 15-30 November in collaboration with the Korean British Society and with the generous support of Seoul Metropolitan City. This marks another historic and cultural moment in the enduring relationship between the United Kingdom and Korea. Please join us on this remarkable journey!

-Timothy Holm


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