With the objective to foster people to people cordial relationship, Ministry of External Affairs in collaboration with Seher, recently organized the second edition of the ASEAN-India Artists’ camp to celebrate 30 years of ASEAN-India dialogue relations in Udaipur recently. Held at the backdrop of Aravalli ranges, the Taj Aravali resort offered the perfect landscape to revere the magnum opus created by the artists who had gathered from several parts of India and ASEAN countries.
The 9-day camp included nine artists from ASEAN countries Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Vietnam and eleven artists from India. The art pieces produced during the camp were exhibited at the closing ceremony for people of eminence and the local city administration at the venue. The Minister of State, Ministry of External Affairs Dr. Rajkumar Ranjan Singh, was the chief guest for the closing ceremony. The camp ended on a high note with an exhibition of artworks and a traditional dance performance by eminent Kathak and Odissi dancer Parwati Dutta and promising Sattriya dancer Anwesa Mahanta.
On the 8th day of the event Sanjeev Bhargava, Founder Director of Seher along with several artists addressed the gathering. During the discourse he articulated how the initiative unfolded and a vision of Seher. He said, “The purpose of the artist camp is to promote cordial relationship and engage in public diplomacy. Music, art, painting and dance this is the language I understand. Ministry was very keen in having people to people contact. We asked the ministries of various ASEAN countries to select one artist each to represent their creative community and as host nation India has eleven artists here so we have twenty artists in total and they work in public space in a community. Normally they paint in their studios totally cut off from the rest of the world. This artists’ camp is also like an ocean flowing from one day to another. With this process of people to people contact among a few creative artists I am sure we can bring people of this region on one single platform.”
During their stay in Udaipur, the participants were familiarised with the works of renowned Indian artists and different art forms of the country. In a candid conversation renowned artist Nupur Kundu said, “This is art camp by Seher. Twenty artists have participated in this art camp. I had good experience because we worked together for ten days. The theme of my painting is Oceans of Connectivity. This is being potrayed in abstract style. I am more interested in colors and I work with pallet knife. I do thick layer of paint. I use elements of nature, ocean as a metaphor to connect with artists.
The artists from ASEAN countries were also very excited to showcase their work along with Indian artists on the day of closing ceremony. Artist Flinh from Vietnam avers, “I am working as a graphic designer and I am a part time artist. I came here to learn from other artists. I am here for ten days. I find this camp very intensive. I have tried to draw a landscape of the ocean at night.”
The first edition of the artists’ camp was organised in 2017 as part of the 25th-anniversary celebration of ASEAN-India dialogue relations, leading up to the main ASEAN India Summit in 2018.