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Waave Foundation Presents: Han Youngsoo: When the Spring Wind Blows

Editor: Trista


New York, NY – June 05, 2024 – The Waave Foundation, in collaboration with Baik Art and Han Youngsoo Foundation, is honored to present Han Youngsoo: When the Spring Wind Blows. This exhibition, hosted at the Waave Foundation gallery, showcases 26 photographs by renowned Korean photographer Han Youngsoo (1933-1999), capturing the resilient spirit of Korean women from 1956-1963.



The exhibition opened on May 30, 2024, at the Waave Foundation the Upper East Side location. Numerous collectors, art professionals, and artists attended the events to show their support and explore the stories behind Han's evocative works. On June 1, 2024, we hosted an intimate walkthrough led by Han Sunjung, the daughter of Han Youngsoo and Director of the Han Youngsoo Foundation. Attendees were immersed in the life, career, and historical significance of Han Youngsoo’s work, gaining deeper insights into his artistic vision and the cultural context of his photographs.



Han Youngsoo's lens offers a tender yet powerful exploration of post-war South Korea, where the indomitable spirit of women played a crucial role in the nation’s recovery. Amidst the ruins left by the Korean War, Han documented the transformation of women's roles in society, depicting their strength, independence, and pivotal contributions in rebuilding their country.




Empowered Women Amidst Post-War Reconstruction 

Han Youngsoo’s photography offers a compelling narrative that challenges the stereotypical portrayals of Korean women during the 1950s and 1960s. In an era often misperceived as conservative and backward, Han’s images reveal a stark contrast, showcasing empowered and dynamic women. These women, whether juggling children or heavy baskets, embody independence and capability, starkly contrasting the traditional images of passivity and weakness. His subjects are seen managing bustling market stalls, balancing familial duties with grace, and confidently walking the streets in stylish attire, including leather jackets, Western-style suits, and elegant dresses.







Modernity Meets Tradition 

The exhibition vividly illustrates the intersection of modernity and tradition. Han’s photographs feature women dressed in hanbok alongside those in contemporary Western attire, reflecting the cultural shifts of the time. His images from Myeongdong, a vibrant nucleus for commerce and fashion in Seoul, offer a rare glimpse into the evolving societal norms and the emergence of a modern Korean identity. The juxtaposition of traditional and modern attire within the same frame underscores the dynamic and transitional nature of this pivotal historical moment, where the "Myeongdong Girl" followed the latest Western fashion trends amidst a backdrop of traditional values.




A Visual Symphony of Rebirth 

Han Youngsoo’s masterfully composed images serve as an artistic record of South Korea’s rebirth. His use of architectural elements and natural environments to frame his subjects, combined with a realist technique reminiscent of early Magnum photographers, captures the essence of everyday life with a poetic sense of motion and fleeting beauty. Through his lens, Han immortalizes moments of grace and resilience, from the serene to the bustling, creating a visual symphony that speaks to the heart of a nation in recovery. His camera captures the essence of a generation of women who, against the backdrop of devastation, forged a new path for future generations.

The exhibition will continue until June 20, 2024. To schedule a visit, please email Waave Foundation at info@waave.org.













Waave Foundation's Mission 

Our mission, deeply rooted in the fourth-wave feminism movement, is to facilitate and drive the transformation toward equality. Waave Foundation is more than an organization; it's a movement where art meets activism, tradition meets innovation, and silenced voices are heard and celebrated. This exhibition aligns perfectly with our mission, highlighting the resilience and empowerment of Korean women during a pivotal moment in history.



For more information about the exhibition or to collaborate with Waave, please contact info@waave.org and Trista Zhong at trista@waave.org


(All photos by Trista Zhong)

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