▲ Iwai Misaki, of Impact Hub, Tokyo, was among speakers at the WCO Culture Designers Fair 2016 - Photo by Jeju Peace Institute
Inspirational artists and architects joined global entrepreneurs in Jeju for a Culture Designers Fair celebrating arts and creativity.
Young leaders from Korea, Japan, China, Cambodia and USA gathered for the World Culture Open event.
The fair, on May 27-28, included a series of talks on arts, culture and design at the 11th Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity and Jeju Stone Park.
The WCO sessions began at the ICC Jeju where ‘culture designers’ - creative individuals who harness their talents in an effort to improve lives - spoke of their creative projects.
In a packed hall, Jazz pianist Kim Dong-woo opened the sessions with his interpretation of individuality expressed through a piano melody before Won Hee-ryong, governor of Jeju Special Self-Governing Province, took to the stage. He spoke of his hopes of Jeju becoming an “epicentre of culture and natural beauty” thanks to a partnership with the Province and WCO.
▲ Hong Seok-hyun, WCO president - Photo by Jeju Peace Institute
The bond between WCO and Jeju Special Self Governing Province was forged at the Jeju Forum in 2015 with a shared pledge to make the island a centre of peace, culture and art.
Hong Seok-hyun, WCO president, urged long-standing Jeju citizens and newcomers to the island to join in helping to help make the island a world-recognised hub of culture and art.
He said: “An island of culture and arts or a city of culture cannot be created by a few. Everyone here, people in culture, citizens and people who relocated to Jeju because they were drawn to the appeal of Jeju island should take part in this all together.
“We have to create a culture of our own more actively and we have to share this with other people around us.”
Sharing ideas and creativity was central to the talks given by the group of five young leaders who each took to the stage to speak of their creative talents.
Iwai Misaki, a community and entrepreneurship program manager, told of how she realised her dream of helping to connect start-up companies through her work at Impact HUB, a renovated former printing factory in Tokyo.
▲ Yang Guanglei, president of World Music Shanghai
“If individuals share their vision we can start something together and create an even bigger impact than a single entrepreneur trying something alone,” Iwai told the audience.
She was followed by Yang Guanglei, a president of World Music Shanghai festival who spoke of how he became an ambassador for the Chinese festival which launched in 2008 as a means of promoting diverse cultures through music.
He said: “What World Music Shanghai wants to achieve is to find the original sound that mankind has loved from the start of existence. We want to share that with as many people as possible.”
Environmentalist blogger and entrepreneur Lauren Singer told how she lived a waste-free life for four years.
The US writer of Trash is for Tossers blog and founder of Simply Co. organic cleaning products told how the total waste she produced filled only a 16oz jar.
She said: “The average American produces 4.5lbs (2kg) of garbage per person per day. By me not making any garbage for the past four years I prevented 6,570lbs (3,000kg) from going to landfill.
▲ Blogger Lauren Singer
When people tell me that one person can’t make a difference I look at them and I laugh because I already have.”
Jeju’s youngest haenyeo Kang Kyoung-ok was up next to speak of her experience harvesting seafood by hand from the ocean floor.
The mother-of-three, who divides her time between diving, running a family and tending to her eco-friendly farm is also an advocate of welfare for female farmers.
“Just as my senior haenyeos have filled my basket I want to work with more younger generation haenyeo and fill their baskets too. With that dream I go out to the sea,” she said.
Finally, a video message, set to popstar Taylor Swift’s hit Shake It Off, told the story of Onn Sokny, a senior manager at Epic Arts Cambodia who advocates inclusion in arts for people with disabilities.
▲ Onn Sokny, manager of Epic Arts, Cambodia
Sokny, who is involved in the development of the Disability Strategy for Cambodia for 2016, said: “Every person is a unique human being with something individual to bring to the world. Every person should be treated according to the same values as everyone else.”
A panel talk followed in which artists and activists answered questions on their fields of expertise.
Governor Won, dressed in Garot traditional Jeju attire, introduced the second session of the WCO seminars which examined some of the cutting-edge architecture on Jeju.
The sessions began with an opening performance by the Jerazin Children’s Choir. Dressed in traditional Jeju clothes, the group gave a performance sung purely in the Jeju language.
Governor Won spoke of his gratitude to renown architect Kim Won, principal of the 50-member Architect’s Group Forum which formed to try and protect Jeju from unchecked and relentless development.
▲ Culture Designers Fair 2016
Jeju Stone Park - Photo by Olivier Duong
Governor Won said: “With economic growth and population growth, Jeju’s environment risked being degraded and becoming more and more like any other city in this world. [The Architect’s group] were fearful of that destiny. They wanted to stop that happening to Jeju island. That was the motivation for this group of artists who love Jeju island.”
He added: ”I believe the role played by architecture and formative art is immense.”
The fair also saw representatives from each of the East Asian culture cities of 2016 - Nara in Japan, Ningbo in China and Jeju, meet to discuss and exchange views.
Also attending was Rolf Noras, director of culture affairs from the city of Stavanger in Norway. Mr Noras spoke of how his city was a European Capital of Culture in 2008 and was available to share his ideas with this year’s host cities.
The sessions ended with a meal, hosted by WCO, for 180 people involved in arts, culture and design at Jeju Stone Park.
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