Royal Ontario Museum — Photo courtesy of Flashfonic
Canada is marking the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and Canada, by declaring 2013 as the Year of Korea. Perhaps because of those strong diplomatic ties, Toronto has developed a strong Korean presence in recent decades. Many expat Koreans have chosen to live in Toronto, the city’s Koreatown neighborhood is popular with locals and tourists and Toronto is home to many great Korean restaurants.
Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is marking the Year of Korea, and the city’s strong Korean culture, in its own way with a newly renovated Gallery of Korea in the museum.
Unveiled this spring at a special event that brought together VIPs from Toronto and Korea’s cultural and political scenes, the updated gallery has allowed the museum to refocus its attention on showcasing thousands of years of Korean history and art.
The first-level space features more than 250 objects including furniture, paintings, printing technology and art. The collection is one of the most significant representations of Korean culture in the western world. And the gallery’s improvements have given the pieces greater historical context, allowing visitors the opportunity to explore the culture of an Asian country they may not know as much about.
The gallery’s new entrance uses a number of objects sourced from both the ROM’s collection and the National Museum of Korea, placed in a visual timeline that allows visitors to see the evolution of Korean objects from the 1st century BCE to the present. The gallery has also enhanced its historical collection by adding a collection of contemporary ceramics from 10 renowned Korean artists. A video installation traces the legacy of master potter Kim Jeong-ok.