When we speak of the countries, South Korea and India, there is a lot more than meets the eye when it comes to the similarity between the two countries.
In order to bring out the similarity possessed between the two countries, an exhibition titled Confluence: Beyond boundaries is currently ongoing at the Korean Cultural Centre. The exhibition displays 23 artworks created by Devendra Shukla and Jang Hee Mun that ranged from paintings and other mediums like installations utilizing video art and metal structures.
Jang Hee Mun, she reveals that the idea behind the title of the exhibition, “Confluence” is to ‘Connect and influence’. “‘Confluence’, is the junction of two rivers, two different streams is a point of realization that represents the process of merging one’s artistic style, meaning, and ideals, says the Korean artist and continues, “Through this theme, we have presented our personal and unique artistic journeys, ultimately coming together to express a common artistic intention.” Shukla further adds, “Learning from another culture is an interesting and positive experience that has allowed us to grow off each other.”
On the use of the Semi-abstract medium, Jang Hee Mun finds the medium fascinating as they are “somewhat real but also unreal.” She adds, “In my paintings, viewers may recognize the images and landscapes but I insist that they try to interpret the experience through emotion - the weight of the strokes, the dullness of the colours and abstraction of forms.”
Jang Hee’s works involve the use of colours that are harmonious in nature. She prefers to use the colours black and white. She adds, “The strong tonal variations in my paintings tend to represent loud drastic changes, a loud voice creating conflict and intensity. This means my artworks are not ‘silent’.” On the other hand, Shukla’s creations involve the use of bold and bright colours and incorporation of traditional Indian art forms. He explains the reason, saying, “India is a country of colour and festivity. Our traditions and traditional art forms are also colourful and intricate. I have always felt satisfaction and comfort when using strong and bright colours, tones and textures in my paintings.”
A balance between aesthetic beauty and expressing the point of view of the artists was observed in these works. Jang Hee adds, “I practice artistic thoughts and actions. I will not compromise the aesthetic quality of my work for I believe that they express the most natural and honest expressions of mine.” Shukla echoes the same sentiment and adds, “I enjoy the process of creation and my expression of art is always linked with natural beauty and aesthetics. Its influence will always guide my expression and relation to any theme or idea.”
While both artists have been inspired by each other’s cultures, yet the two are connected to their roots. The use of traditional Korean painting mediums and ink in her artwork is one way, Jang Hee retains her originality as it represents her very cultural roots. “Using traditional Korean Ink and brush is the most comfortable for me and gives me the ultimate satisfaction while making a piece of art. I observed DMZ (demilitarized zone) and I am aware of the current scenario of South Korea. I always like to reflect on current issues in my artworks,” she adds. Shukla, on the other hand, expresses, My cultural roots have been shaped since childhood. Inspirations from other cultures and experiences can only enrichen my roots and ideals.”
Shukla concludes the conversation saying, “We need to learn from different countries and cultures and strive to create peace, harmony, and cooperation. Through the artworks exhibited, we wish to express a message that encourages positive vibrations within people around the world.”