Hwang wins gold medal at UK flower show
By Kim Ji-soo
Hwang Ji-hae, 35, a Korean environmental artist, won the gold medal at the 2012 Chelsea Flower Show with her work “Quiet Time: DMZ Forbidden Garden.”
It’s a repeat performance for Hwang at one of the world’s most prestigious horticultural events. She also won last year with her recreation of a traditional Korean bathroom into a garden, called “Hae-woo-so” or “Emptying One’s Mind.” The event is hosted by the London-based Royal Horticultural Society every May.
The artist told The Korea Times before the show that she chose the Demilitarized Zone for her inspiration because its existence reminds of the history of Korea that remains divided following the 1950-1953 Korean War. The buffer cuts the Korean Peninsula roughly in half and remains one of the most heavily militarized borders in the world.
Because of its isolation, the DMZ fosters a number of organisms unique to the area. The work featured three main aspects; a memorial chair, a guard post, and a wire fence. Together these factors created a garden that served as a memorial.
“I thank God for this medal and it’s a great honor to be able to call attention to the Demilitarized Zone in the center of London,” Hwang said. “I also thank the mayor of Gwangju and firms in the area who have shown support for the project.”
She dedicated the project to Korean War veterans and the families separated following the fratricidal conflict.