Art is a powerful tool that brings people together and imbibes the socio-cultural practices of the time. The ASEAN-India Artists’ Camp 2022 was one such project. It recognised the power of art in fostering intercultural people-to-people exchanges to promote mutual understanding and tolerance.
The city of Udaipur is a perfect place for artists, with its marvellous forts and palaces, a rich history and culture, enchanting lakes, and pretty cafes. SEHER thus chose this picturesque location to hold the ASEAN-India Artists’ Camp 2022 to celebrate 30 years of ASEAN-India diplomatic relations. The camp was organised from 10 to 19 October 2022 at the Taj Aravali Resort and Spa. Well-known and upcoming visual artists, specifically painters from ASEAN Member States and artists from India, participated in the activity.
ASEAN and India share common cultural and civilisational linkages that go back to ancient times. Many similarities can be found in literature, architecture, religious texts, and even in folk practices. It is important to strengthen people-to-people and cultural ties by exploring the similarities while celebrating the differences, and providing a platform for the creative community to initiate a deeper understanding of the values and traditions of both ASEAN countries and India.
The aim was to conduct a highly publicised activity that involves creatives from ASEAN and India.
The participating artists created works of art during the artists’ camp, each with a different style of painting—contemporary, modern, traditional, impressionist, etc.—but carries the essence of their own culture and history.
Apart from working on their art pieces, the artists also participated in formal and informal lecture demonstrations and workshops. These not only deepened the artists’ understanding and appreciation of the rich visual art traditions in ASEAN and India, but also increased the awareness of ASEAN identity amongst creative intellectuals and the public.
Pre-event activities included an online webinar hosted by Dr. Anuradha Ghosh, a well-known author and intellectual from India, which was attended by all participating artists from ASEAN countries and India.
Several workshops and lecture demonstrations by experts in the field of traditional arts and different techniques in the field of visual arts were organised during the camp in Udaipur. These included special interdisciplinary programmes to showcase the different Indian traditions and art forms, providing a more holistic experience to the visiting artists with classical dance, music, handicrafts, and others. The camp also focused on gender equality and encouraged higher participation from younger artists.
An educational visit was organised to expose local art students to the different art forms and styles of the ASEAN nations and India. The selected artists visited a school in Udaipur and local art students visited the camp to interact and learn from the artists at work. To commemorate the event for years to come, local artists painted a wall in the city with motifs and stamps of the participating ASEAN countries.
The paintings produced were brought to Cambodia for an exhibition at the ASEAN-India Summit. Dignitaries in attendance, local officials, and members of the Indian community visited the special art exhibit.
In conjunction with celebrating the 25th year anniversary of ASEAN-India Relations in 2017, and in synchronisation with India’s Act East Policy, the first ever ASEAN-India Artists’ Camp was organised in India in 2017.
The participating artists from India included: Sonika Agarwal, Japani Shyam, Nupur Kundu, Laishram Meena Devi, Anjum Khan, Nin Taneja, Vanita Gupta, Yogendra Tripathi, Mayur Kailash Gupta, Dileep Sharma, and Basant Bhargava.
From ASEAN, the following artists joined the camp: Nabil Fikri bin Haronli (Brunei Darussalam), Samrit Keo (Cambodia), Eddy Sulistyo (Indonesia), Sone Khounpaseuth (the Lao PDR), Edroger Rosili (Malaysia), Aye Myat Soe (Myanmar), Melissa Abuga-a (the Philippines), Phattaraporn Leanpanit (Thailand), and Nguyen Phuong Linh (Viet Nam).