New Delhi/Darjeeling : A new chapter in cultural exchange opened in West Bengal s Darjeeling hills Saturday with the inauguration of a week-long international arts residency programme featuring 25 artists from the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) member-countries.
The programme, Merging Metaphors , is an initiative of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR). It seeks to forge a sense of bonding and solidarity between the ASEAN community and India, which have shared cultural roots and geographical proximity, a spokesperson of ICCR said.
Given the unprecedented surge and prestige of contemporary art in cultures of the world as a continuum of living traditions, it seems appropriate to use arts to promote cohesion and all around development for a better society in the region, the spokesperson added.
Curated by Sushma K. Bahl with Archana B. Sapra, the project seeks to promote collaboration among artists by letting them live, work and exchange ideas in a mix of structured and open-ended programmes. It aims to allow artists to rejuvenate and infuse innovation in their works.
The participants will draw, paint, write and do other innovative things in the mornings; visit local sites of historical and cultural significance in the afternoons; and discussions will be organised in the evenings to facilitate networking, Bahl said. The scenic Darjeeling with its cool hills, old monasteries and vast tea estates will inspire the group to create a new body of work that will be added to the ICCR s collection for display in its offices in India and elsewhere, the ICCR said.
The works created during the programme will be first shown in the host country and in ASEAN member countries like Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The sessions and interactions during the residency and the resulting work documented in an illustrated catalogue will be published by the ICCR and launched during the inaugural show in July, curator Bahl said.
The ICCR said the participants have been selected through consultations with experts and Indian missions abroad. The artists are mostly in the middle of their careers with a good track record and are engaged in innovative art with aesthetic merit.
The participants include painters, new media artists, designers, photo artists, sculptors and others, whose works present an overview of the contemporary art scene in the region with glimpses of its diversity and vibrancy, the ICCR spokesperson said. The residency programme ends June 17.