Organized by the Busan Biennale Organizing Committee, Sea Art Festival is one of the most seminal and accessible outdoor art exhibitions in South Korea. The festival celebrates Busan’s coastline as a source of inspiration, and is held at Ilgwang Beach and nearby indoor venues between October 14 and November 19, 2023. The festival opens to the public for free.
It aims to explore the roles of coastal cities and communities as an interconnected global network and considers the sea’s recovery and the potential therein. Through various mediums, such as sculpture, installation, video, and two-dimensional art, the participating artists invite viewers to imagine shared values and actions for an alternative future of coastal communities.
UK-based Greek curator, Irini Papadimitriou, leads this year’s edition as Artistic Director. Under the title “Flickering Shores, Sea Imaginaries”, the festival attempts to look at the reality of our relationship with the sea in a new way, while generating inclusive, creative, and innovative ideas rooted in symbiosis and collectiveness. In essence, this exhibition allows visitors to reimagine our relationship with the ocean, its species, and its environment through arts and culture. It features 31 teams (43 people) from 20 countries, including artists Yang Jazoo, Muhannad Shono, Ari Bayuaji, Kim Doki, Jang Seungwook, and more.
The Sea Art Festival Lab is a space for research and creative work on explorations of the sea, art, and science, and linking art and cultural institutions with the marine ecosystem. Papadimitriou explains, “Art is a great force for changing our attitudes and perspectives. Our hope here is to connect fields such as art, research, industry, and marine science in order to open up new possibilities.”
In addition to the exhibition, a manifesto project, academic symposium, and public programs led by participating artists will also be held. The manifesto project invites experts across different fields, including Korean and international oceanographers, scientists, artists and environmentalists, to gather to write a manifesto, starting with a common framework for restoring sustainable relationships between marine communities. The manifesto will be used as a design element for the indoor exhibition venue to reflect the themes and message of the festival, which artists have incorporated into their artworks.