A 10-year-old boy in Korea recently went to an art museum with his father. In the exhibition room lays an artwork that stretches from one end of the room to the other. The little boy shocked the nation when footage revealed that he had jumped on top of the artwork and began crawling, standing, and laying all over the piece, causing the ink to smudge.
Citizens were surprised further when they noticed that the child’s father took pictures of his son playing rather than stopping him.
The piece was created by artist Park Dae Sung and is approximately 20 meters (about 66 feet) long. The artwork was made using the same style of calligraphy that belonged to the renowned writer, Kim Saeng, from the Unified (or Later) Silla Era (about 668 to 935). It is worth thousands of dollars.
After discovering that the piece was smudged and dirtied, the museum quickly checked surveillance footage to find the child and his father. Once they found the culprits, the father explained that he didn’t know that children weren’t allowed to be on the artwork as there weren’t any signs (which is true).
The artist explained that he would not take any legal action against the family because the child did not do it on purpose. He forgave the family and decided to leave the smudges, stating that those marks are now a part of the piece’s history.
That’s why they’re children! There’s no further reason except that they were children. My children do the same things. The children don’t know anything, they don’t know what’s wrong. It’s the adults who should be careful.
—Park Dae Sung
Although the artist forgave the family, netizens and viewers found it difficult to forgive the ignorant father.
- “Children are children but the dad…”
- “This is so shocking. Are they not educated?”
- “Even if the artwork didn’t have barriers, isn’t it just common sense not to step all over the art displayed in an exhibit?”
- “This clearly shows the parents didn’t properly educate their children.”