KONNECT ASEAN Contemporary Print Show: Arise

15 Nov 2021

ASEAN Foundation and ASEAN Culture House announce their first joint exhibition in Busan, Korea

This exhibition, the first collaboration between the ASEAN Foundation and ASEAN Culture House, assembles artworks by young artists from ASEAN nations and Korea to explore the idea of trauma, healing, and collective identity.

The ASEAN Foundation and ASEAN Culture House - Korea Foundation are co-organising the KONNECT ASEAN Contemporary Print Show: Arise exhibitionscheduled to open from 11 November 2021 to 13 February 2022. This exhibition, the first collaboration between the ASEAN Foundation and ASEAN Culture House, assembles artworks by young artists from ASEAN nations and Korea to explore the idea of trauma, healing, and collective identity. Focused primarily on printmaking and works on paper, practices steeped in tradition across ASEAN nations and Korea, the medium is reimagined by these artists for contemporary audiences. 

The exhibition will explore the idea of collective identity through the themes of trauma, hope, and irony. Paper is associated with keeping historical records and memories, yet is also fragile and degrades over time. The artwork featured in Arise embraces a wide range of emotions coming from either the collective or personal memories of each artist. In capturing the results of historical conflicts in the ASEAN region, the artists demonstrate that whereas history is recorded and remembered, trauma can fade away, like delicate paper, and be dealt with. Altogether, the collective interest and concerns of today’s society are illustrated, alongside various coping strategies.

The exhibition explores different aspects of trauma including a work by Soe Yu Nwe (Myanmar) whose bittersweet allegory to the strength of her people shines even in the face of political instability; Srun Rida’s (Cambodia) tribute to The White Building, a large and prominent apartment building that was demolished to make way for rapid development; an installation by Adi Sundoro (Indonesia) symbolising a dark period in Indonesian history; 

On the other hand, other artists focus more on paper’s function as a medium for record-keeping in society and subvert it in interesting ways. These works evoke peaceful and nostalgic memories cultivating therapeutic feelings in viewers. The concept of healing is introduced through various artworks including “Visualistion” by Doan Thi Ngoc Anh (Vietnam) that uses the Wheel of Samsara as a starting point to reflect on her own life; an imagined and romanticised landscape by Pany Somvachit (Laos); a view of the Manila Bay at different times of the day by Henrielle Baltazar Pagkaliwangan (Philippines).

Finally questions of identity that oscillate between hope and despair are illustrated in works such as an installation by Isabella Teng Yen Lin (Singapore) that is the remnant of a hybrid art and fundraising project; a series of vignettes by Worachet Srisubal (Thailand) that represents the artist's own meditations on the concept of hell; Siti Rawini Binti Awang Sulaiman’s (Brunei) glimpse into the social norms and customs of modern Southeast Asia; and Nur Tasyareena Jekaria Abdullah, Memeto’s (Malaysia) depiction of Kaamatan or Pesta Kaamatan, a harvest festival celebrated annually in the state of Sabah, Malaysia.

Through the KONNECT ASEAN Contemporary Print Show: Arise exhibition, it is hoped that audiences can see how traumas gradually arise and soften from the dark to the light, fostering a sense of connectivity between ASEAN-ROK by sharing transnational understanding.