Topeka Artist uses painting to cope with South Korean tragedy

The death toll in the South Korean ferry disaster is at 260. 42 people are still missing. Many of the casualties were students who were going on a school field trip.

The way the tragedy was handled has sparked outrage from many South Koreans.

Nicolette Schleisman tells us how a Topeka artist is using her paintbrush to cope.

Inside this studio in North Topeka Arts District is something you would not expect.

“I titled my painting as, ‘Next Time Please Save Us Faster,’” said Poca Kim, a NOTO Core Artist.

Poca Kim is an artist, her painting, is a tribute.

“It started after the accident. I shouldn’t say accident anymore, tragedy,” said Kim.

Kim is from South Korea, and her hometown is just an hour away from the school in Ansan. So the tragedy hits close to home.

After the ferry capsized last month, South Koreans began posting yellow ribbons to show support. A friend asked Kim to draw one with the kid’s smiling faces for his Facebook profile picture.

“I made a small sketch and posted it to Facebook, and I got a really good response,” said Kim.

Kim started the painting a week after the disaster. After she got compliments from friends in South Korea. She decided to make two more sections of the painting, and finished them before First Friday Art Walk this past week. Finishing two sections in one week.

“It’s a very humane moment,” said Kim.

Her paintings were fueled by anger at the South Korean government. The reactions from the community here in Kansas have been overwhelming.

“When they came [to First Friday Art Walk], some of them would cry. They didn’t hesitate to sign the yellow ribbons,” said Kim.

For now, she is inviting anyone to her studio to see the painting, and support each other together.

Kim wants to bring the painting to downtown to get more signatures on the yellow ribbons. She says she may even go to Kansas City.
She then wants to donate the painting to either the school where the students were from, or the South Korean President’s home.

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