The Painters: HERO in Seoul

Hankuk University School Field Trip

January 19, 2017

The class created a WeChat App group chats room in case any of us were ever absent we could text each other about the material covered in class and the homework assignment.  Mostly, the chatroom was used by our teacher to remind us about our homework assignments.  As part of the Universities extracurricular program, we were told that we would be going to a show called The Painters: HERO 페인터즈: 히어로.   Before moving to South Korea I had actually seen a part of the show on the Korean variety program “We Got Married.”

On the way to the subway station, I grab some McDonald’s and decided to walk and eat since I didn’t want to be late.  Although, once I arrived I discovered I could have taken my time.  The three youngest students in our class, the guys from Saudi Arabia had not arrived.  They lived the farthest away from the school in Itaewon, and it took them forty-five minutes to get to school every morning.  Finally, they arrived with the apology of waking up late and the subway being overcrowded because of the morning commuters.

We all got on the subway together and went to the Jongno-gu exit.  As we rode on the subway our teacher asked us questions to check if we were retaining the vocabulary we were learning in class.  We were a little embarrassed as the morning commuters stared at twelve foreign students trying their best to pronounce simple sentences in Hangul.  After exiting the subway we walked to the Seoul Theater and waited for the entire Korean language program, that included students, staff, and volunteers to go inside.

The school rented out the entire theater for a special showcase during our winter session.  The show was perfect for foreigners because we didn’t have to understand the language to enjoy the show.  Once inside the theater, I sat next to the teacher and we briefly chatted about Jung JiHoon a.k.a “Rain” a popular actor/singer/dancer in both the United States and South Korea.  We sat one of the younger boys from Saudi Arabia in between us because he was full of energy and needed a little more extra supervision.

The highlight of the show was when the painters drew a picture of Michael Jackson while his songs played in the background.  In total the four different painters drew a Light Scratching painting (the painter was shirtless, enough said), Action painting (4 different painters create 1 canvas), a “Sand” drawing, a sand portrait of Jackie Chan, and a speed drawing portrait of a beautiful tiger that literally leaps of the canvas.  Next, there was a brief intermission in which the painters asked for audience participation.

As luck would have it, the painters picked the younger boy from Saudi Arabia sitting in between me and the teacher.  It turns out he was the best person for the game.  The game consists of them standing in a straight line and whispering a word to each other.  Finally, the word is whispered to the last painter standing in line and he draws a picture of the word on a blank canvas.  The entire audience laughed along as they had to repeatedly whisper the word to complete the portrait.

Once the show was over we went outside to find that it had begun to snow.  It was really cold and slippery walking on the fresh snowfall.  We quickly went inside a nearby Italian restaurant and had lunch together.  As we had lunch together I know for some of the Chinese students this was their first time trying pasta and eating with an African-American woman.  Yet, we were all able to break bread with one another and enjoy our meal.

If you want to continue reading about my travel adventures in Seoul, South Korea check out my travel diary.

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