Korean artist’s house in Luna now tourist spot

>> Sunday, October 15, 2017

By Erwin Beleo

LUNA, La Union — Korean sculptor and painter Bong Kim, who built his “bahay na bato” (Spanish-era traditional house) in this coastal village, has attracted visitors to his home because of his art – rendering various emoticons and faces of people in stone.
The house of Mr. Kim is now considered by many as a tourist attraction called the Stone Hand Gallery in Barangay Nalvo Norte, here.
Many visitors last week like Emma Dumpit were quickly drawn to having groups with her kids before the mural made of carved stone figures of emoticons.
“Some faces are sad, mad, annoyed, ouchy, bored, crying and others, but in the end everybody is happy,” said Kim as he watched gleefully the expression in the faces of those fascinated by his work.
The gallery is filled with 90 stone sculptures depicting various subjects from people and animals to sea creatures real and imagined.
But evident in a number of Mr. Kim’s artworks is his endearment for Filipino culture.
“One of my pieces of art is a Filipino couple characterized as ‘Andres de saya,” he said. “That’s why it is portrayed that the man is inside the body of the woman – the wife is controlling her husband in every decision; the sculpture (of the man) cannot get out,” he explained.
Married to a Filipina, Kim also shared his passion in art with local residents that he teaches.
That is why his gallery is mixed with 3D wall paintings, several canvass paintings, clay sculpture, and vases and plant pots decorated with pebble stones the students that he trained.
Kim’s wife, Beverly, said he does this to share his talent and “para matulungan at madiskubre din ang local talent dito sa La Union (to help and discover local talents in La Union).”

The Korean, who is now a provisional Filipino immigrant, said he will continue drawing inspiration in two kids Kimbong, 11, and Mae-ri, 9, and the community in which he has adopted as his home.


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