Arty wanderings in Hongdae

As always, street art sat high on my to-be-discovered list during my recent trip to Seoul.  My google and blog research had pointed me to the area around Hongik University, in the Mapo-gu district.  This young and lively area had already attracted me in my accommodation searching so I was staying nearby, ready for a pre-breakfast wander.

My sense of direction is not always the best, but the university entrance is striking and the campus is sizeable. However, finding the street art proved a bit more tricky.  There was no obvious sign of it close to the main entrance, so I set off for a meander in the streets around.

Pre-breakfast on a weekend tends to be quiet in student areas so I had the streets pretty much to myself, with just a few people off to work.

The woman pictured below was already hard at work. Lumbered with the task of collecting rubbish – hard and heavy work – she was clearly set for a challenging day. But another passerby appeared; he stopped to speak with her for a while and then helped her push her load up the hill.

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Further on, below the university campus, another woman was setting out to sell her wares.  I had already noticed these electric scooters-cum-market-stalls making their appearance across the city, hopefully shaping a slightly easier life for street vendors.  This woman certainly got up the hill a lot faster than me.

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Turning down the narrower alleyways, I spied some street art.

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My hunt for more murals, plus now-needed caffeine, led me on.  A lively mural first…

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and then the hope of coffee…

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Sadly, it wasn’t the right time of day for coffee, or maybe not the right time of year, but the art now brightened my steps.

 

A brief chat with a couple of locals as I returned to the main entrance to the University, revealed that rental prices in the university area had risen and, as a result, many of the local artists who had decorated the walls not so long ago, have now moved to other areas of the city. Plus, many of the murals I had seen online previously had been on now-vanished hoardings around completed building projects.

Nonetheless, I had found some good murals, met some charming local people, and seen many friendly faces.

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Copyright Debbie Smyth, 21 May 2018

Posted as part of Monday Walks

10 thoughts on “Arty wanderings in Hongdae

    1. I had a great trip – now catching up on work – and I need more (both time and work!)

      I felt sorry for that woman and other similar workers. I was so impressed by the guy that stopped to help her – he was not dressed for the part

      Like

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