A few years ago, while I was living and working in South Korea, I visited an area in Northwestern Seoul called Gaemi Maeul which literally translates to “Ant Village“.
It is a small community of around 400 residents who live high above the city at the foot of Mount Ingwangsan. They received that name which truly describes their hard work. Elderly workers go up and down the winding roads and alleys and just keep a busy pace all day long. It is also one of the last “moon villages” in the country because at that height you can see the moon clearly and feel much closer to it.
I learned that back in the 1950’s, when the city was rapidly expanding following the Korean War, they were among a group of people who had arrived there because they had nowhere else to go. They were fiercely opposed to the construction of high rises in the area. Therefore they set up tents and marked their territory. Authorities let them stay and that led them to build their homes and some have been living in precarious conditions since then.
Unfortunately, residential developers have not given up and they still want to grab their hands on this very valuable piece of land. So it is only a matter of time before the inevitable happens.
In 2010, a group of art majors from neighboring universities were asked to help beautify this area, so they happily volunteered and let their imagination soar! They created some amazing art which definitely brought back the village to life and injected new energy.
This helped to draw visitors from all over the city and the country! The location was perfect for movies and documentaries broadcasted on national television.
For photographers and art lovers, like me, it was a real feast for the eyes!
One important thing I learned is to be more humble about where I live, what I have and not complain. The way these people still live today is simply admirable. They make the best they can with whatever they have!
If you are ever in Seoul, I highly recommend you go on a day trip!
Now let me take you on a photography (and colorful) tour of Gaemi Maeul: Ant Village in Seoul, South Korea
through the following images.
I hope you enjoyed the tour.
Now I am curious and would like to know something,
Would you travel just to see some awesome art?
If so, tell us where and why!
Until next time