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Returning to her native country of South Korea after a seven-year absence, Clara (Da Eun) Euam '12 hopes to preserve its traditional residential architecture through her love of art and sculpture. Euam is the College's first-ever recipient of the Mortimer Hays-Brandeis Traveling Fellowship, a $19,000 award in support of a student's artistic endeavors outside of the United States.
Euam, one of three recipients this year, was chosen for her proposed work in South Korea's Bukchon Hanok village, a town where 600-year-old architecture is disappearing as it is replaced by modern structures. Euam plans to conduct research in the village, documenting the current condition, level of preservation and functionality of architecture in the town. She also plans to utilize personal connections with the residents. Ultimately, she will install an artistic structure of her own to be shared with her South Korean audience.
"My main plan for this project is to explore Korea's traditional housing … through meeting people who preserve and still live in the Hanok village," Euam says. "The exciting part of this project is that I get to research cultural issues that are happening right now and participate through my art project."
Professor Andrea Wollensak advised Euam in preparing her proposal for the fellowship. Wollensak has been the fellowship's institutional representative for Connecticut College since 2006 and this year served on the selection committee.
"During the selection process, we are looking for clarity of project goals, means by which they can be fulfilled, adequacy of language and academic preparation and necessity to travel abroad," Wollensak says. "The candidates need to have done their homework."
Euam's proposal fit all of these criteria, Wollensak said. "Her project is rich, broad, interdisciplinary and community-based, and her studio work is very strong and really supports her plan. It is visually and conceptually evident that this is the next step for her."
Euam also hopes the venture will complement the studies she recently completed at the College as an art major with a concentration in sculpture.
"My research has been focusing on the current status of the environment and how it deeply intertwines with our living place," she says. "What intrigued me the most about this project is that I am not only studying Korea's culture and tradition but also how Hanok ties into nature and creates a harmonious environment."
Euam explored this concept of nature and harmony during her College-funded internship at Franconia Sculpture Park in Minnesota, where she created a large, outdoor sculpture entitled "Attune." Her sculpture work will continue in the Bukchon Hanok village this year.
"I would like to create an artwork that can interact with the audience and communicate the values that I find through my on-site research," she says.
- By Bailey Bennett '14