The Beginning: South Korea

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UKYA worked in partnership with Seojung Art Centre and Superior Gallery, Seoul and Chung Ang University to take 13 of the best young artists in the UK to Seoul in October 2017 to present their work alongside 10 young Korean artists. During their time in South Korea the artists participated in collaborative
workshops, talks and visits to local cultural events; facilitating intercultural exchange and international collaboration. Artists work was presented at the National Assembly of Korea, Seoul, in partnership with Seojung Art Centre and at other exciting locations.

Alongside this project, UKYA alumni and ambassador Matthew John Atkinson presented a solo exhibition of new paintings at Superior Gallery, Seoul. This exhibition came as a result of an R&D trip that Matthew took with UKYA to South Korea in 2016, supported by the Arts Council and British Council through the Artist International Development Fund.

Here, you can read UKYA’s diary of The Beginning: South Korea.


Michelle Bowen and Garth Gratrix arrived in Seoul on a sunny Wednesday morning on 11th October to begin the new journey of collaborative working with our Korea partners at the Seojung Arts Centre. Our time here so far has been visiting the presentation venue, the National Assembly of South Korea, which is like our houses of parliament, so a great privilege to be there and working with the whole team.

We have been working on the logistics and delivery of the presentation and official opening of our joint show ‘The Beginning’ ensuring that all the technical and exhibition needs are in place in this beautiful space (which did mean a quick trip to Ikea!) 

Seeing the first ‘hot off the press’ catalogues and invites was such a proud moment, a beautiful publication. It was all becoming very real as we all talked about how far we had come since our first visit 11 months ago.

We are looking forward to welcoming our artists to this amazing city on Sunday, it will be so inspiring for you all...see you soon!


It's been a busy last few days for UKYA, the artists all arrived on Sunday apart from four who sadly had to endure another 24 hours before they could land. We met with our new Chinese partners from the Yiyuan Tang Museum and Won Hee Nam and Eunsol from the Seojung Arts Centre to discuss a mutual cooperative agreement which supports young artists in China, Korea and the UK through collaboration, discussion and presentation.

Our big day arrived with the official opening of The Beginning - the occasion is one which is very different to openings back in the UK, here it is much more formal and focussed on the work and business. Approximately 50 people attended from senior members of the Korean National Assembly to galleries, British Council and Embassy. The feedback we had about the quality of work and performances of our artists was outstanding and we fully expect some exciting opportunities to emerge for the artists over the coming months.

As we draw out visit to a close we can confidently say that this mission exceeded our expectations and UKYA feels very proud of what a small company can do with support from Arts Council England to make a change in the career of an artist. The learning, exploration, creative development and friendships that were made have been extraordinary and we look forward to welcoming our Korean friends back to the UK in 2019.