Peace and hope in a South Korean art village
Updated 17:52, 20-Sep-2019
Komeil Soheili

Less than an hour's drive from Seoul, an art scene is flourishing near the border between the ROK and the DPRK.

At first glance, Heyri Art Village is a picturesque day-trip destination for city dwellers to get away from the hustle and bustle. 

Visitors will find a cluster of quirky modern buildings nestled in the woodland, hip museums, shops and cafes lining its winding paths, all blending nicely into a backdrop of unspoiled nature.

But just a few miles north, the barbed-wire border with an armed checkpoint is a stark reminder of the fragile peace in the region. Located in Paju on the western edge of the Demilitarized Zone, this idyllic artsy hub has come to symbolize peace in a region known to the world for anything but that.

Since 1997, hundreds of South Korean artists, musicians, architects and writers have moved into the village where they set up studios and living spaces, turning it into a collective home for the creative community.