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For singer Jang Sa-ik, calligraphy is ‘blissful agony’

May 8, 2019 - 17:27 By Im Eun-byel
Musician Jang Sa-ik, known for his unique interpretation of traditional Korean songs, will show his talent for “seoye” at an exhibition in Seoul.

Seoye refers to Korean calligraphy, a tradition of artistic writing created with brushstrokes. Using only black ink, it conveys a sense of depth and breadth. 

Jang’s seoye work (Geulc 21)
Jang’s seoye work (Geulc 21)
Jang’s seoye work (Geulc 21)

Jang, 70, is a famous singer who incorporates the art of pansori into his music, as well as the folk and pop genres. This is his first calligraphy exhibition.

“I felt overwhelmed, preparing an exhibition of calligraphy -- something I do for leisure. But going back to the heart of a beginner, I created the pieces,” Jang said.

“Seoye is blissful agony. (In the future) I hope that I can enjoy calligraphy more, and also that I can show my development.”

A poster for Jang Sa-ik’s exhibition (Geulc 21)

Rather than famous verses or well-known sayings, Jang writes about everyday things -- stories about flowers in his garden, how he feels when creating calligraphy, and words he remembers hearing from his father.

The exhibition runs until Tuesday at Ewha Art Gallery at Ewha Girls’ High School in Jung-gu, central Seoul. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to UNICEF.

By Im Eun-byel (