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Empowering the Deaf in North Korea: A Spotlight on Seung-il Byun



The Huffington Post - The World Post
By Rachel Stine

Seung-il Byun is a traditional Korean painter, noted for using circular canvas and depicting pastoral landscapes of the Joseon Dynasty. He is even more famous, however, as the president of the Korea Association of the Deaf, where he is a fierce advocate for deaf people across the peninsula. “My goal is to promote artistic and cultural exchanges between the Northern and Southern communities of Deaf Koreans,” he said at an interview in central Seoul, using his preferred Korean Sign Language. “It is critically important. Non-hearing people in North Korea have very little contact with the outside world.”

Mr. Byun has made it his life’s work to advance the rights of deaf people in his home country. “Non-hearing people from across the peninsula need to support each other,” he explained, running a hand over a brochure from his latest solo exhibition of paintings. “Historically, we are a marginalized group with many shared experiences, and that’s why I write the word with a capital letter in English. Deaf Koreans will face unique challenges upon national unification. Academic, artistic, and cultural exchanges help us prepare for that day.”

Read more  . . . Deaf in North Korea