Arts and Culture
With the recognition of increasing presence of and the burgeoning interests in contemporary art, craft, and design from Asian nations in UK and Europe, the panel critically reviews the exhibitions featuring contemporary art, craft and design from India, Japan and Korea in the discourse of soft power and cultural diplomacy, with a particular scrutiny of the national narratives presented through exhibition platform. Exhibitions, international fairs, and biennales became increasingly the sites for the display of ‘soft power’ and the practice of cultural diplomacy between nations. The panel focuses on contemporary exhibitions featuring contemporary art, craft and design from India, Japan and Korea and discusses various factors that have been playing in the process of making and evaluating these exhibitions. Existing studies on soft power and cultural diplomacy have already established that national government agenda, economic and political status of nations and regions, and international politics provide important frameworks in developing such exhibitions. While acknowledging the established discourse, the papers in this panel address advantages and shortcomings of national (Indian, Japanese, and Korean) promotion strategies of art, craft and design and discuss ideological and political backgrounds which frame and condition particular national identities presented through the exhibitions. The papers in the panel also concern with the global movements of people, information, and objects, all of which accelerate transcultural and transnational consumption of art, craft and design. They probe on the prominence of national art, craft and design identities in the narratives of the exhibitions featuring Asian contemporary art, craft and design in Europe at the backdrop of globalised network of people (artists, designers, makers, curators, agents) and information and asks the question whether soft power of these exhibitions are a rhetoric or a reality.