The Academy of Electronic Arts
[also known as The Academy of Experimental Arts]

South Korean Cultural Delegation
(working visit to NE India, August 03-11, 2013)
Programmed from The Research & Innovation Ashram - Guwahati
Rukmini Nagar || Guwahati || Assam || North-East INDIA


August 2013 saw The Academy of Electronic Arts attempt to open up a parallel track of cultural diplomacy between North East India and South Korea, by programming a small but very significant delegation from that country through an exploratory 10-day working-visit to Guwahati (capital of Assam), and Shillong (capital of Meghalaya).

The delegation was led by Ms. Nathalie Boseul Shin, who is counted amongst the top arts & culture curators of her country today. Mr. Hojun Song, whose latest well-known 'artwork' eventually added up to his recently becoming the first person to send a Personal Satellite into orbit, represented the contemporary cutting-edge of South Korean media arts. Mr. Boseong Lee, assistant-curator with Total Museum of Contemporary Arts, Seoul, contributed additional inputs and also rounded off the delegation as rapporteur.

The AeA itself was represented by Shankar Barua (Managing Trustee), and Shazeb Shaikh (Executive Trustee).

Working to a tight schedule, the delegation spent time meeting individuals, institutions, and government, in both Guwahati and Shillong, looking to discover, and to hopefully also open up, new avenues for a deeper cultural engagement between South Korea and North East India, into the future.

The visit will hopefully be just the first of many international cultural connections that the The AeA will bring to the NE, into the future, from the wonderful global network we have built up over the years, out of our bases in Delhi and Uttarakhand. And, as such, it will hopefully also mark just the beginning of our now being based in the NE too, with our new Research & Innovation Ashram in Guwahati.

The following images offer an overview of the entire visit.

This article in The Assam Tribune, North East India's largest circulation English daily, was just one of several alerts that appeared variously in the local media a couple of weeks before the visit

Hojun Song, Boseung Lee, and Shankar Barua at lunch on Day-1, in Guwahati, which was a day for rest and recuperation, as the delegation's routing in from Seoul had been long and tiresome. But of course, it would have been much nicer for all if we'd not been guided to a lousy restraurant by a local journalist

Day-2 (Sunday) morning saw six members of the brilliant local Bulls of Assam Motorcycle Club take the group out on a ride into the surrounding countryside, for a proper feel of Assam; including a touch of the lovely Pobitora National Park, which is said to be home to the largest single concentration of one-horned rhinos anywhere

Day-2 (Sunday) late-afternoon saw the delegation arrive a bit early for an informal meet with a few local artists and members of the wider local community, pegged upon a 'dedication' of the Research & Innovation Ashram that The AeA has just established in Guwahati

Day-3. Boseung Lee atop the 'Bhot-Bhoti' that ferried us across the Brahmaputra, and back, for an engagement with the Department of Design (DoD) at the Indian Institure of Technology - Guwahati (IIT-G)

Day 3. Nathalie Boseul Shin shakes hands with Professor Avinash Shinde, who coordinated the engagement on behalf of the DoD, IIT-G

Day-3. Meeting with faculty in the office of the DoD's Director, Professor Debkumar Chakrabarti, at IIT-G

Nathalie Boseul Shin addressing students and faculty at the DoD, IIT-G

Day-3. Nathalie Bosuel Shin seen with Professor S. Parasuraman, Director of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Guwahati

Day-3. Hojun Song addressing students of TISS-Guwahati

Day-4. Times of India interview at Shilpgram

Day-5. Shankar Barua in conversation over dinner with Mr. N. Munish Singh, Regional Head of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), for NE India, who kindly coordinated and hosted much of the delegation's program in Meghalaya

Day-6. Ms. Matsiewdor War, Director-Culture for the Government of Meghalaya, welcomes the delegation to a special program at the Directorate of Culture, Shillong

Day-6. Shazeb Shaikh, Boseung Lee, Hojun Song, Nathalie Boseul Shin, N. Munish Singh, and Shankar Barua, being formally felicitated onstage at the Directorate of Culture, Shillong

Day-6. Shankar Barua introducing the delegation and The AeA to the gathering

Day-6. Group-shot with the singers and dancers who kindly performed for the delegation at the Directorate of Culture, Shillong

Day-6. Nathalie Boseul Shin interacting with prominent local artist Benedict Skhemlang Hynniewta over lunch at the Riti Academy of Visual Arts, Shillong

Day-7. Visiting the lovely beginnings of an Institute being established by the villagers of Wahkhen to carry forward their tradition of music and musical-instrument-manufacture

Day-7. Meeting with the Siem of Smit; traditional "ruler" of about 400 Khasi villages in Meghalaya

Day-7. Visiting the lovely ICCR office in Shillong, which is marked for having been lived in by Rabindranath Tagore long ago, on the anniversary of a special day from his life, which saw a lovely couple of Bengali ladies drop by to lay flowers at his statue, and sing songs of his Rabindra-Sangeet, with Mr. Munish Singh too pitching in, rather magnificently

Day-7. Shankar Barua addressing an intimate cultural gathering at the Asian Confluence Hotel, on the last evening in Shillong

Day-7. Damang Syngkon (left) and his band, bring some lovely Khasi folk music to the evening

Day-7. Nathalie Boseul Shin addressing the gathering

Day-7. A touch of American jazz brought to the evening by prominent local singer, Natalie Syiem

Day-8. Bumping into a vendor peddling an overabundance of South Korean music, cinema, and televison media, at Police Bazar, on the way out from Shillong

Day-8. The thrill of finally getting a signal on their phones in North East India, from Bangladesh, on the way to Mawlynnong; which is said by some to be 'the cleanest village in India'

Day-8. Action poses from Shazeb Shaikh and Nathalie Boseul Shin on a "tree-root bridge" near Mawlynnong

Day-9. A giggle had by all about the funky little bamboo lodge that hosted the delegation's last night in India on this trip

Day-9. On the outside, looking in


**We're missing pictures here of a great meeting with a section of the local cultural community of Guwahati, kindly hosted at Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra, Day-4, by Mr. Swapnanil Barua, Commissioner & Secretary - Culture, Government of Assam

mail address: B-5&6/4563 Vasant Kunj,. New Delhi - 110 070 (INDIA)