Korean Dream - Sculpture of Cameroon-born Boxer Unveiled at Lotte World Tower
Seoul – IOM Republic of Korea (ROK) and Korean sculptor Yi Hwan-Kwon launched “My Migrant Neighbour IV” on 18 December – International Migrants Day - at the Lotte World Tower, the world’s fifth tallest building, in Seoul. The campaign promotes positive perceptions of migrants and advocates for diversity and inclusion in our society.
The exhibition, which will run through year end on the first floor of the Lotte World Tower, features Yi’s three-metre high sculpture of Tae-San Kil, a Cameroon born boxer. The Tower attracts 50 million visitors every year.
Tae-San Kil was accepted as a refugee in Korea in 2017, after fleeing Cameroon, West Africa. He was given the name Tae-San Kil as an inspiration to become the “Great Mountain” of Korean boxing league.
“Through continuous support of many Koreans, I am now a super-middleweight champion of South Korea. After becoming the Asian champion, I ultimately aspire to win the world champion title,” said Kil, who took part in the unveiling.
“Today, over 2.37 million migrants reside in Korea, contributing to the country’s socio-economic and cultural development. Kil’s on-going story shows that when inclusive and equal opportunities are provided, migrants from diverse backgrounds have immense potential to bring a positive impact to their destination country,” said Miah Park, IOM ROK’s Head of Office.
“I was strongly inspired by Kil’s motivation to bring the world championship title to his second home, Korea,” said Yi. “Despite various challenges living as a migrant in Korea, he observes strict training to achieve his dream. Through my art work, I wanted to capture his long journey in overcoming obstacles and driving towards his goal. At the same time, I believe that the sculpture serves as means to highlight opportunities for other migrants in the country,” he added.
To raise public awareness on migration, IOM ROK has organized a series of My Migrant Neighbour campaigns, each introducing a different sculpture. They include three siblings of a marriage migrant family (2015), North-South Korean Couple (2016) and a twelve-metre high sculpture of Italian priest Father Vincenzo Bordo (2017.)