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Air Bridge, a contemporary Art Exhibition


by Chimi Wangmo

photos by Sonam Adhikari & Kinley Wangchuk.

The gallery hall of Hotel Osel is currently playing home to some of the most unusually beautiful contemporary art pieces from the Korean Republic represented by four Korean Artists under a project called ‘Air Bridge’. The program seeks to enhance global understanding and cultural exchange between South Korea and Bhutan. The participants seek to create deeper understanding of both cultures through civilian channels, and to pave the way for a freer interaction between the artistic communities of the two countries. From meticulous lines and structures to pieces with a more liberal stroke, from frames of personal human expression to invocation of the mundane, the exhibition played host to an artistic perspective quite different and alien to Bhutan in contrast to our more traditionally-inspired space.

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“This piece here is made by cutting PET film into all different shapes by hand. This shape has a human form to it. Each shape stands for each distinctive moment which makes up a single moment. The different moments of all times are shown by different shapes which in turn make up the present moment as reflected by the mirror,’’ says Ms Jang Inhee as she explains her mirror art work.

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Artist So Soobin takes her fascination for flowers to a whole new level by portraying an authentic picture of “thing of beauty’s” anatomy. She mentions she was tired of the pastel colors and opted experimenting with a darker description of its aesthetic nature. Unlike the usual single flower painting, her work has images of the microscopic structural detailing of a single flower in one frame.  Her work, in short, chronicles the growth of the micro organs of plants and flower through images. The change in the consistency of the paint given her technique of putting gel stone prior oil painting to oil out and oil in extra oil makes each minor organ so distinctive.

Also on display are landscape paintings that layers different time and space elements by the master watercolorist Mr Shin Jongsik. Sculptures and paintings suggesting virtual reality in real world (which is a little incomprehensible to non art aficionados yet equally intriguing) by Ms Kim Yeun Tae make a must-see work for Bhutanese contemporary artists.

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In addition to the arts by the Korean Artists five Bhutanese artists also have their works on display. Mostly acrylic on canvas, visitors got to see a portrait of His Majesty the Fourth King (with the intense emotions in the eyes so beautifully captured & portrayed) by Karma Wangchuk and a gothic-inspired traditional mask by Zimbiri.

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“The image is really strong and religious. You can literally feel deep philosophy in them, which is new to us,” comments Mr Shin Jongsik on the Bhutanese art present there. The korean artists also state that the colors and patterns in monasteries are similar to Korean culture but the natural pigmentation and fabrication of the paint they have seen in the processed work of Thangka is something they have learnt and wish to explore more once back home.

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The project has been named ‘Air Bridge’ to encapsulate the motivation to connect the two nations in more ways than what is visible to the eye. The project participants seek to create deeper understanding of both cultures through civilian channels, and to pave the way for freer interaction between the artistic communities of the two countries. The Korea Public Diplomacy is a program sponsored and funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of South Korea. The exhibition is open to public till the 8th of August.

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Ms. Thinley Choden of Bhutan Tours and Travels (www.bhutantoursandtravels.com) is their local coordinator and logistics partner. 

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