Kangkangee: Where art and industry meet
Wide Busan: Yeongdo
There is a place in Yeongdo-gu (district) where new art infuses an old village with fresh life. It is a place where, not so long ago, its status as a popular tourism destination would have been unthinkable.
Welcome to Kangkangee Art Village.
This section of the island accessible from Nampo-dong (neighborhood) has become a popular tourist attraction. Unlike other hot spots around the city, Kangkangee is not yet overrun with hip cafes or the newest trends. The village's rough and desolated alleys and old factories remain.
Don't let any of this deter you from exploring Kangkangee Art Village, a place where residents and tourists coexist and artwork breathes life into every corner of this living history museum. It's a unique experience that is worth your time.
Yeongdo is the only district in Busan that is surrounded by the sea. In Yeongdo, Daepyeong-dong serves as the gateway between mainland and island. It was this neighborhood that played an important role during the Japanese colonial era (1910 to 1945) as a shipbuilding and repair site because of its easy access to the ocean.
Daepyeong-dong is also home to the "Kangkangee Ajummas," hardworking women of this village, which gained its name from the sound of hammering the bottom of ships to remove barnacles and rust ("kangkang") that could often be heard from all corners. There was a lot of hard work in the village, but also lots of joy. It was a hard life for the Kangkangee Ajummas, and for others in the village, as well.
While the golden age of shipbuilding here might be over, the work continues. Eight shipyards and 200 industrial and vessel component companies in the area remain. Artists have settled here, as well. It has been through the initiative of these artists that a "Kangkangee Renaissance" has taken hold. The Kangkangee Art Village project has worked with local residents to revive this faded location. As part of their efforts, factories and small houses have received fresh, art-influenced paint jobs, making for some fun, interesting self-guided tours. What first seemed strange to residents has been embraced.
What to see, what to expect
Drawings on these old walls will catch one's eye as soon as they visit Kangkangee Art Village. Primary color tones, large sizes, unique patterns and more have been drawn by both local and foreign artists. Murals featuring several village residents are particularly impressive. German artist Hendrik Bichir got involved in the project, as well, illustrating the strong and hard life of the Kangkangee Ajummas. Bichir is well-recognized in Korea for a number of other works, including his fisherman's mural in the park tower of Millak Port, near Gwangalli Beach.
- Please note: Look around quietly because it is a neighborhood where residents live. Do not take pictures of people without their permission. Respect privacy.
- How to get there: Nampo Station (Metro line 1), exit 6. Take bus 6, get off at Yeongdo Telephone Company. Walk straight (telephone company is located on the left) for about three minutes, then turn right at Daepyeong-ro. Walk straight another five minutes toward the Daepyeong-dong area to find Kangkangee Art Village.
- Information: kangkangee.com
*Directions to Kangkangee Art Village