Written By: Louis Liu
When diversity is mentioned we tend to look at the differences we have; and at best, we look at them and accept one another, which is a key towards a more inclusive society. However, most of us oversee that diversity does not only bring our differences together, but it also lets us see our similarities.
ART UP, as an online art enrichment program for children gives its students, which are mostly children, a peek of cultures in other countries in a fun and artistic way. Oftentimes, they would do cross-cultural works, fusing the intricacy of one and the brightness of another, or sometimes it would be the depth of one and the patterns of another. ART UP has been in many countries, such as those in the ASEAN and India, and it aims to further its reach so as to help expose other children to other cultures—and in extension, understanding other people.
This is what everyone learned through our Art UP! Masterclass: Weaving Colors and Culture
Together with Gurukul Global School in India. We journeyed through diversity—in an ASEAN way— colorful, collective and creative. Our founding artist who also stood as Teacher Karina all throughout the series of masterclasses said, Southeast Asia is a meeting ground between South Asia and East Asia, creating a canvas of different cultures weaved into different combinations of them. They eyed their similarities, instead of their differences: the hardness of Benjarong of Thailand and the Khmer Art of Cambodia and many more.
Participants learnt the importance of art in tracing our shared heritage and identity. We have made colorful and lively Wayang Kulit and introduced the Philippine Jeepney as an output for the cross cultural masterclasses.
Accepting our differences is important, our world does not merely revolve around them. If we trace back to the past far and long enough, we will be able to see the similarities of our cultures. All our cultures evolved differently from one another; yet, no matter how much they have grown, there is but one origin.