K-Pop Artists Help Ferry Tragedy Victims Posthumously Realize Their Dreams

Courtesy of Seochon Gallery

Top South Korean artists are releasing songs and artworks by high schoolers who lost their lives in the recent tragedy.

SEOUL – South Korea's top artists have stepped up to help make teenage dreams come true, albeit posthumously, to honor the hundreds of students who died in a recent ferry disaster.

Two months ago, the Sewol Ferry sank off the coast of Korea, leaving most of its 500 passengers, including more than 300 students of Danwon High School, dead. The search continues for 11 passengers who remain missing.

The tragedy had left Korea in a collective state of mourning, with major events being called off and a yellow-ribbon campaign sweeping across the country.

Not long after honoring the victims with various artistic tributes, local artists have taken the initiative to help realize the dreams of the late 15- and 16-year-olds.

STORY: Director of Psy's 'Hangover' Music Video Helms Tribute for Pope Francis

K-pop songwriter Ilsang Yoon, who had composed a song "Budi" (Please) for victims, will help one of the students to posthumously release her songs. He is currently creating a digital album featuring a selection of works by the late Kim Si-yeon, who had been the head of her school's theater group and dreamed of becoming a film score composer. The album will be released in August.

Shin Dae-chul, guitarist of the local band Sinawi, also is helping to release some of the original compositions that another student, Park Su-hyeon, had saved on his computer. Composing was one of the 25 wishes on the boy's bucket list. Singer Shin Yong-jae recorded an unfinished love song by two teens, Lee Da-un and Nam Hyeon-cheol.

Meanwhile, thousands of Koreans have been visiting a special exhibition of artworks and designs by the late Park Ye-seul.

Jang Young-seung, head of Seoul's Seochon Gallery, took the initiative to display some 40 works by the late aspiring fashion designer, ranging from endearing crayon doodles to impressive sketches of shoes. Designer Lee Gyeom-bi helped out by creating two pairs of high heels based on YeSeul's detailed designs.

STORY: South Korean Law to Protect Young K-Pop Stars From Sexualization, Overwork

"Over 5,000 people have visited since the show opened six days ago last Friday. I didn't want to set a closing date for the exhibition, and fortunately it seems like it can go on for a while," Jang told The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday.

"I hope visitors can take a moment to think about Ye-seul's dreams and remember the tragedy, and also take the opportunity to reflect on the surviving children and their dreams," he added. Of the 325 high schoolers that boarded Sewol, only 75 are alive. Visitors have left behind colorful Post-It messages, and Jang made sure to pick up the ones that fell as less space became available on the walls.

A group of artists also have gathered together to create a Facebook page called "304 We Won't Forget," and have dedicated 304 artworks to the 304 victims of the tragedy.