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S. Korean sculptor to donate work to cheer up quake-hit Ecuador

All News 16:10 April 29, 2016

SEOUL, April 29 (Yonhap) -- A South Korean sculptor said Friday he plans to erect four of his works, including two giant sculptures bowing Korean-style, in Ecuador this year to encourage and soothe people affected by recent earthquake.

The donation of the sculptures -- two sets of "The Greeting Man" and "The Mirror Man" -- to the Central American country is part of a project that sculptor Yoo Young-ho, 51, has created to link cultures and people by reproducing his artwork across the world.

"The Greeting Man," a 6-meter-tall, sky-blue sculpture of a man bowing, carries the importance of mutual understanding over different cultural and racial backgrounds by exchanging Korean-style greetings.

"I hope the Ecuadorian people, who have been hit by the devastating earthquake, will find solace for a moment in the sculpture bowing in a humble manner," Yoo said in a telephone interview with Yonhap News Agency.

Saying he has finished discussing the planned construction of the four sculptures with the Ecuadorian diplomatic authorities, Yoo added that "The Greeting Man" will deliver a message of modesty, harmony and comfort to the people in Ecuador.

In October 2012, Yoo donated his first "The Greeting Man" to Montevideo, Uruguay, on the other side of the world from the Korean peninsula, with the second installed in Panama in January this year.

In South Korea, "The Greeting Man" statues have been erected in Yanggu, Gangwon Province, Seogwipo, Jeju Island, and Yeoncheon in Gyeonggi Province.

"Aid after aid arrives in Ecuador to help victims of the quake. As an artist, I would like to push ahead with the project of installing 'The Greeting Man,'" Yoo said.

The death toll from the magnitude-7.8 earthquake that occurred off the Pacific coast of Ecuador on April 16 has risen to more than 500. The quake was the biggest to hit the country since 1979, when a temblor killed some 600 people and injured around 20,000.

Yoo will pay for all costs needed to produce, transport and install the four works out of his own pocket.

The two sets of "The Greeting Man" will be installed facing each other in the Ecuadorian capital of Quito, with the two sets of "The Mirror Man," a sculpture of a giant man, will be erected face-to-face with fingers touching in the neighboring city of Cayambe.

He hoped that "The Mirror Man" sculptures will serve "as a symbol that puts together the southern and northern hemispheres of the global village in the country which lies smack in the middle of the equator." He added that the statues will hopefully contribute to the friendship and goodwill between South Korea and Ecuador.

The sculptures are expected to be shipped from the port of Busan in August and installed in the latter part of this year.

Yoo and the Ecuadorian authorities are planning the artwork dedication for either Oct. 5, the anniversary of the establishment of Seoul-Quito diplomatic ties, or Dec. 6, the founding day of the Ecuadorian capital.

He said he is greatly honored to be able to install his work in Ecuador, adding he will continue "The Greeting Man" installation project in the latter part of this year, with the next venue possibly in Brazil.

namsh@yna.co.kr
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