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February 7, 2003

Handicapped to Teach Sculpture

From: Chosun Ilbo, South Korea - 07 Feb 2003

by Jeong Jae-yeon (

Thirty-year-old Shin Il-su has been appointed as an instructor at the University of Seoul to teach environmental sculpture in the coming spring semester. With congenital hearing and speech impairments, Shin chose art as his profession from the fifth grade after reading about master painter Kim Ki-chang, who overcame a hearing disability. His mother taught him drawing and painting, and opened an art gallery in 1987. Thanks to his mother's support, Shin even got a chance to meet his inspiration.

By the 11th grade, Shin was determined to pursue sculpture among other fields. "Not many inspiring artists choose stone sculpture because it's physically exhausting. I wouldn't choose it myself if I weren't deaf. I just needed something more than sitting in front of easel and drawing. When I carve a rock with chisel and hammer, I am carried away and forget my disability" he says.

After disappointing attempts to go to an art college, Shin was accepted to a liberal art college. But Shin didn't give up his dream and eventually went to Sang University to major in art, followed by the graduate program at the University of Seoul. A pupil of sculptor Jeon Loi-jin since junior year at college, Shin is still found at a corner of Jeon's atelier, immersed in his work.

After a surgery in October, 2002, Shin recover some hearing ability for the first time in 29 years, distinguishing loud sound like phone ring or honking. Thoroughly preparing class materials, Shin says he will not let his speech impairment be an obstacle to his lecture.

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