The partnership between KONNECT ASEAN and Museum MACAN highlights the importance of multilateral collaboration during the ongoing global pandemic. The KONNECT ASEAN program is a key driver of Korea’s New Southern Policy to strengthen ties of friendship and cooperation with ASEAN through the three pillars of people, prosperity and peace. As the post-Cold War reality of a new world has taken shape and formed new directions and conversations, KONNECT ASEAN heralds a new era for cultural diplomacy and regional integration. ASEAN nations and Korea have sent a strong signal that they are both eager to highlight the integral role that the contemporary arts have in international relations and our everyday lives.
ASEAN has, since its inception, done much to facilitate people-to-people exchange in the arts sector across Southeast Asia to encourage dialogue and debate. This unique space for artistic discourse that allowed for pluralistic notions of what constituted a regional artistic identity and aesthetic is one of ASEAN’s great legacies and is widely acknowledged, researched, and discussed by a new generation of art historians and curators. ‘Stories Across Rising Lands’ will provide meaningful insights from Southeast Asian artists and their communities, showcasing the richness of cultures across ASEAN nations. As 2020 was the Year of ASEAN Identity, we are pleased to support this exhibition illustrating that ASEAN’s regional integration efforts cover a wide range of initiatives from major trade agreements to intercultural understanding.
The KONNECT ASEAN program celebrates the work of artists with partner organizations across the region, and in the process explores social, political, economic, and environmental issues. Artists’ works and activities engage and strengthen the public’s understanding of ASEAN and connect the three major stakeholder groups of government, business, and civil society to achieve the vision of an ASEAN Community. Museum MACAN is a natural partner for us as we seek to reach out to arts audiences across the region via digital platforms and the gallery space.
Artists and artworks connect us intangible and dynamic ways to the world, advancing diplomatic efforts, building deep connections, mutual understanding, and goodwill that builds the resilient communities underpinning our future prosperity. Cultural diplomacy initiatives are key for us to draw ourselves out of the isolation caused by COVID-19 and reconnect. Now is the time for us to come together and encourage dialogue amongst our myriad ethnicities, religions, and cultures to build a better world for the future.
Project Director – KONNECT ASEAN