– Going Beyond Its Role as Korea’s Premier K-culture Event, Cheongju Takes a Step Closer to Realizing Its Dream of Becoming a “World Craft City”
CHEONGJU, South Korea, Oct. 18, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Over the past 45 days, we have had the privilege of encountering crafts that connect, create, and inspire love for the world. We have now found a “map of things” that will guide us confidently into an uncertain future.
The topographical map of time that the Cheongju Craft Biennale has painstakingly constructed over the past 24 years, since its inception in 1999, is now more tangible than hitherto. Like solid cloud plates, it visualizes Cheongju’s ambitious dream of becoming a global craft city that transcends borders.
This 45-day journey, comprising 1,080 hours and 64,800 minutes, has seen 300,000 visitors explore the diverse world of crafts with unwavering enthusiasm. They were treated to over 3,000 works by 251 artists and teams from 57 countries.
- The Closing Ceremony: Culmination of a 45-Day Journey
The Cheongju Craft Biennale Organizing Committee, led by Chairman Lee Bum-seok, Mayor of Cheongju, hosted the closing ceremony on Sunday, the 15th. The theme of this year’s biennale,”The Geography of Objects – Living in the Net of Biophilia” signifies the essence of the event, emphasizing the power of crafts to unite, create, and inspire a better world.
“For over two decades, the Cheongju Craft Biennale and our craft-centric city, Cheongju, have garnered global recognition and have been instrumental in promoting ‘craft’ as a representative of K-culture,” said Cheongju Mayor Lee Bum-seok, Chairman of the Organizing Committee.
- Record-Breaking Scale and Sophisticated Exhibition Techniques
The biennale has garnered attention due to its unprecedented scale, featuring more than 3,000 works from 57 countries. Notably, 80% of the exhibited works are brand-new creations, highlighting the significance and prestige of the Cheongju Craft Biennale in the global craft community.
“An impeccable biennale that identified a clear zeitgeist and theme, meticulously selected outstanding works that aligned with the philosophy, materials, and workmanship required for their execution, and presented them with profound insights using high-quality exhibition techniques, all while establishing an effective means of communication with visitors,” commented experts who had the privilege of visiting the event.
The Cheongju Craft Biennale’s popularity was further propelled by visits from prominent figures, both from South Korea and internationally. Distinguished guests included Mrs. Kim Gun-hee, the first lady; the 15th Jongjeong Seongpa monk of the Jogye sect of Korean Buddhism; and Stéphane Galerno, President of the French Crafts Association, in addition to cultural centers and embassies representing various countries. Thanks to their involvement, the Cheongju Craft Biennale has transcended being a local craft event in Korea, evolving into a global K-content phenomenon.
- Crafting an Inclusive Biennale with Visitors
While the exhibitions boasted unprecedented scale and quality, the success of the biennale was cemented by a diverse array of programs that kept visitors entertained and engaged, creating an inclusive biennale for the community.
Throughout the 45 days, a total of 328 programs were offered, encompassing the Children’s Biennale; international workshops; the Craft Summit; workshops integrated with the main exhibition; the Spanish Culture Week featuring a guest of honor; the Amaama Festival; a vibrant mix of large-scale concerts, exhibitions, performances, interactive experiences, markets, and talk shows; as well as captivating collaborative performances spanning various genres and crafts. These included everything from K-POP dance to classical music, Korean traditional music, and dance.
Visitors relished the opportunity to partake in diverse enjoyable activities both within and outside the exhibition space. They interacted with craftspeople from around the world, gained insights into the enchanting culture of Spain, and explored the boundaries of different art forms and genres.
- Cheongju, the Emerging World Craft City
The most significant achievement of the biennale is its role as a catalyst for Cheongju’s transformation into a truly global craft city, extending its influence far beyond the borders of South Korea.
The biennale, with its diverse academic programs including international workshops involving 13 artists and teams from 7 different countries and the Craft Summit that convened prominent figures from the realms of craft and culture, has found itself at the epicenter of vigorous discussions regarding the message that humanity conveys through craft, the future of craft in our changing world, and the pivotal role that Cheongju can play in this narrative.
Prominent domestic and international experts, among them Kevin Murray, Vice President of the World Craftsmen’s Association, actively engaged in these discussions, visualizing Cheongju’s dream of becoming a UNESCO Creative City in the coming year, stating, “The dream of Cheongju’s selection as a UNESCO Creative City next year is already within reach.”
With the conclusion of the 2023 Cheongju Craft Biennale, a new journey begins, grounded in the anticipation of a reunion in 2025 in Cheongju, the World Craft City.