Lee, Myeong Jae

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Lee, Myeong Jae

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born 1976

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In September 2001, Myeong Jae Lee went to Kyiv, Ukraine where he taught Korean language at the Kyiv National Linguistic University. He lived in Ukraine from November 2001 to February 2004. In 2005, he graduated with a master of Russian studies degree from the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Seoul, Korea. His master's thesis was "The Festival Culture of Eastern Slavs: National Identity and Vitality as a Revival." In 2015, Myeong Jae Lee started his PhD studies at the Department of Information & Archival Science at the same university.

In 2013-2014 academic year, Myeong Jae Lee was the Academic Visitor at the University of Alberta at the Kule Centre for Ukrainian and Canadian Folklore. In 2016-2018, he served as the attache at the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Myeong Jae Lee has been always interested in the theme of culture, especially folklore, festival and religion. The coexistence of four kinds of festivals with completely different characteristics was the most striking element that he observed in Ukraine: Christian festivals, traditional festivals, Soviet festivals, and new festivals (after the collapse of the Soviet Union). He began to document the festivals by taking pictures and video, and did so for 27 months while in Ukraine. Myeong Jae Lee lived "according to the local calendar", experienced more than 40 festivals, and found every one of them gorgeous. He was able to see the different dimensions of the Ukrainian culture, and the Eastern Slavs’ culture.

Myeong Jae Lee was also attracted by Ukrainian natural landscape and characteristic local colour. He visited about 30 cities and villages in Ukraine including Uzhhorod, Kharkiv, Yalta, and Bila Tserkva.

Myeong Jae Lee thinks photography is one of the best ways to document something, and that as time passes, the value of photography as a record increases. When he stayed in Ukraine he thought he should record Ukrainian daliy life. These photographs and video films will become valuable records and good representation of Ukraine 100 years from the time they were recorded. He was the author of several photo exhibits in 2003-2014, among them: Two Diaries (Gallery Palitra, Kharikiv, Ukraine), The Festival Chronotope of Eastern Slavs (Sejong Center, Seoul, Korea), The Time on the Way (Artbit Gallery, Seoul, Korea), The Wonderland (SangSangMadang Gallery, Seoul, Korea), The Week of Ukrainian Culture (Wangsan Culture&Art Hall, Yongin, Korea), and Photo & Travel (COEX, Seoul, Korea). He also co-authored two publications: The Wonderland, KT&G SangSangMadang (2010) and Youth, Share, and Time On the Way, Photonet (2008).

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