Artworks Render Convention Friendly to Children
By Park Si-soo
CHANGWON ㅡ With heating discussions on wetland protection at the Changwon Exhibition Convention Center, the main venue for the Ramsar Convention, a throng of people, including toddlers and students, are also gathering here to enjoy the environment festival.
Drawing their foremost attention was a huge green bamboo ark installed in front of the building's main entrance. Two solar electric panels were on the rooftop instead of a wooden sail to generate the electricity needed to operate gadgets inside.
Several white swans made from abandoned tires and gas can-made ant warriors escorted the vessel, a green tree made of abandoned light poles the backdrop.
``Our adorable penguins are sick because of warming climate. But they will recover soon if we save electricity and other energy resources,'' Lee Hwan, an installation artist and goodwill ambassador for the Environment Ministry, said to dozens of children.
``The Ramsar Convention is a good opportunity for environmental education. But it's limitedly open to the public and subjects of the meeting are too difficult for children and even adults to understand. That's why I have run this exhibition here to help children easily understand why we should try to prevent global warming and keep our environment clean,'' Lee told The Korea Times, Sunday.
The green ark stands for the last shelter of endangered species in Korea. To see 221 photographs featuring the species on display inside, adults must pass through a small entrance, lowering themselves as they do.
``I intentionally made the gate small to force adults to stoop, which is intended to make them feel some responsibility for global warming and be humble toward nature. But the exit is big enough since I believe they must be fully aware of the importance of environment protection through the exhibition,'' he said.
Those who visit the exhibition are asked to write their hopes for the environment on green tape and then hang it on a tree named the ``tree of hope.''
``It was thin at first. But look, the steel tree is now filled with hopes for a green environment,'' he said smiling.
Middle school student Kim Min-jin said, ``It was very interesting and helpful to learn about the importance of environment conservation.''
Noting that artwork is a very effective tool for environmental education, Lee said, ``Children usually feel bored when learning about the environment through textbooks or other text-based materials. But an exhibition combined with artwork easily draws children's attention, resulting in boosting their awareness of environment protection.''
He, who runs an environment museum in Yangpyeong, Gyeonggi Province, said, ``I'm working to launch an environment camp program there. It will be the first school here specialized in teaching climate change and other environmental issues.''