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CU 'Artnauts' Shed Light On Social Injustice In Korea

By Kathy Walsh

BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) - A CU Boulder art professor, artist and international curator is coming together for Colorado and the world. He is traveling to Korea this June with an exhibition of more than 100 pieces of art.

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(credit: CBS)

Each one symbolizes the conflict between North and South Korea. Each sheds light on social injustice in an effort to spark social change.

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CBS4's Kathy Walsh interviews CU Art Professor George Rivera. (credit: CBS)

"Two different places, war and peace, dictatorship and democracy," said George Rivera as he showed CBS4's Kathy Walsh one artist's work.

The two sketches showed both of Korea's leaders and depicted the division between the north and south.

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(credit: CBS)

Rivera has a stack of photos, drawings and paintings. They are in pairs that depict the tension on the Korean peninsula.

The art is the work of a group, called the "Artnauts," started by Rivera in 1996. All of the artists in the collective have a CU connection.

The "Artnauts" don't create art as usual, but like astronauts, these artists venture into the unknown. They've taken their message of social injustice to 15 countries including Bosnia, Columbia and now, the Korean peninsula.

"This exhibition, I think, will generate a discussion around really the inhumanity that exists in the world," explained Rivera.

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(credit: CBS)

All of the artwork is 8 1/2 by 11 and fits into a suitcase, making it easier for Rivera to carry onto airplanes and get through customs. The show, slated for Korea, is called "Liminal Space," meaning the space between two thresh holds.

The art will hang in a museum on the demilitarized zone (DMZ), the boundary between the north and the south.

"I want them (visitors) to take away that barriers, any barriers that exist or boundaries that exist, don't have to be there between human beings," said Rivera.

And he hopes people who see the exhibition will see hope.

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(credit: George Rivera)

"Art by itself does not change the world, but it changes people who can change the world," said Rivera.

To Rivera every one of the 117 pieces of art speaks volumes. He hopes that starts a dialogue for social change.

The exhibition at the DMZ Museum will run from June 22 through December.

Kathy Walsh is CBS4's Weekend Anchor and Health Specialist. She has been with CBS4 since 1984. She is always open to story ideas. Follow Kathy on Twitter @WalshCBS4.

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