- 20-1 Ami-ro 128 beongil, Seo-gu, Busan
Ami Culture Education Center is a basement and three-floor building that comprise a children study room, a library, a local culture classroom and on the rooftop a cafe with the view on the beautiful Busan’s landscape. On the second floor, there is the Choi Minsik gallery named after the first-generation documentary photographer. Choi is the first-generation documentary photographer who photographed ordinary people with tough lives emanating from war and poverty. He aroused sympathy from the world by photographing ordinary people's tough lives and underprivileged people during modernization of Busan with a theme 'Human'. Images of ordinary people from his photograph are very similar with people from Biseok town. Choi's life was Ami-dong's and Biseok town's history and the locals' lives remained in the history through his work. Thus there is no wonder why recommending Choi Minsik Gallery as a tourist site to imperatively visit when in Seo-gu.
Choi Minsik was born in Yeonbaek-gun, Hwanghae-do in 1928. He was from a very poor family and lost his mother when he was only 12. He had a very tough youth as he worked at many places for living. His tough childhood affected his work that focused on tough lives of ordinary people. Despite poverty, he dreamed of becoming a painter and studied abroad in Tokyo by stowing away on a ship. He first came across a photograph collection of Edward Steichen "The Family of Man" and he was very inspired at an extent that he changed his way.
He returned to South Korea with a used camera and a few of photograph collections then started to work at 'House of Boys' in Amnam-dong Seo-gu as a photographer in 1962. During his time there, he was inspired by Aloysius, the priest who had a spirit of philanthropy and bright image of less fortunate young children and it affected his work as well. He was nominated as a 'Star Photographer' in Taiwan International Photo Exhibition and he won awards in 20 countries' Photo Exhibition. He also held 13 individual exhibition invitation in 7 countries including the United States, Germany, France, Italy etc.
A densely populated shanty town, crowded downtown, market with confused-fights, an old man with wrinkled face from his tough life, a young girl taking after her younger sibling, Newspaper delivery boy without a leg, a guy sleeping at the corner of stairs, a woman breast-feeding her baby, a man sitting on the ground selling fish... Choi Minsik always photographed faces of people who did the best from lower places.
The streets he spotted had traces of the Korean War and modernization. For him, taking photos was to be aware of ordinary people's lives and social problems. It sometimes made authorities uncomfortable, but his work was consistent. He won 14 cultural awards including Busan Culture Grand Prize (2008) and received the Okwan order and National Award from the President (2009). He passed away at the age of 85 on February 12 2013 but in the same year, Choi Minsik Photograph Award was made and his works, his camera, his hat which became his trademark welcomed visitors at 'Choi Minsik Gallery' in Ami-dong.
- Opening Days: Opens year-round
- Hours: 09:30~19:00
- A basement~three-floor building total area 410.52㎡
* Basement : Small library 1st floor : Ami-Chojang Project Site Supporting Center
- 2nd floor: Choi Minsik Gallery
- 3rd floor : Cafe and Observatory
Ami Culture Education Center Transportation Info
||Get on Mandi Bus, Get off at Ami Culture Education Center
||87, 134, 1003 → Get off at Seogu Office → Town Bus Seogu No.2,
transfer at Sahagu 1-1 and get off at Ami-dong Public Parking Lot