This exhibition was conceived in the summer of 2012 during a conversation between Vicki Sung-yeon Kwon and Moe Taylor, both of whom, at the time, were students and staff at the University of Toronto. It took us four years of preparation to get to now–involving research, strategic planning, gathering collaborators abroad, and negotiating with government officials and cultural institutions in both South Korea and Guyana.
Thanks to Wonseok Koh, my curator colleague at the Asia Culture Centre in the Republic of Korea, I was able to fund my travel to Guyana to borrow the archive displayed in this exhibition and to have all these fragile, paper-based materials digitized to create an online archive for permanent preservation. I owe special thanks to Gowun Kim and Ah-young Lee, researchers at the Asian Culture Information Agency of the Asia Culture Centre for all administration support.
I would also like to thank our friends in Guyana, in particular, the Correia family, Mrs. Annette Arjoon-Martins and Mr. Dave Martins, Ms. Desiree Wyles-Ogle, Ms. Syndrene Harris, Ms. Gwyneth George, Mr. Ohene Koama, Dr. Alim Hosein, Dr. Anthony Frank, Mr. Kit Nascimento, and the great Guyanese artists George Simon and Philbert Gajadhar.
Several people and departments at the University of Alberta supported this exhibition. Thank you to Sarah Polkinghorne, for hosting this exhibition at the University of Alberta Rutherford Library; the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research, for the scholarship that funded my research; Kamal Ranaweera and Clare Peter of the Arts Resource Centre, for generously lending the media equipment; Don Cooper, for allowing us to use the Visual Resource Centre; and Blair Brennan, for invaluable installation advice. Faculty of Art and Design members Dr. Betsy M. Boone, Dr. Natalie Loveless, Dr. Lianne McTavish, and Dr. Lisa Claypool gave me incredible advice and support.
Last but not least, I want to thank our fabulous exhibition team: Intermedia artist Ange Kindrachuk, for assisting in the installation and for keeping me sane with her humour and intelligence; Travis Holmes, for designing the brilliant graphic materials that visualize the concept of mass games in both Guyana and North Korea; printmaker Heather Leier, for reproducing the deteriorating newspaper archive in a creative way; sculptor T. J. McLachlan, for creating a sculptural installation to display Moe Taylor’s documentary film artistically; and Moe Taylor, for drawing my attention to this topic through his original research and for playing a crucial role in accessing the archive in Guyana during our research trip.
Thank you, everyone.
Vicki Sung-yeon Kwon (exhibition curator)