ICHCAP to Co-host Alternative Identities: Masks of ASEAN & Korea Exhibition in Seoul

A collaborative exhibition “Alternative Identities: Masks of ASEAN & Korea” will be co-hosted by ICHCAP (Director-General Ji-Sung Kim), the Oil Tank Culture Park (Director Lee Yong Nam) and Korea Foundation ASEAN Culture House (President Kim Ki Hwan) from September 22nd to November 12th at T5 Story Hall, the Oil Tank Culture Park. Prior to this exhibition, the main exhibition held in Busan (April 26th – July 23rd) at KF ASEAN Culture House was a great success with more than 40,000 audiences visited.

“Talchum, mask dance drama in the Republic of Korea” was listed on UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in November 2022. Amid the recently emerged meme of the second self in virtual reality such as ‘Bukkae’ and ‘Avatar’ in Korea, interest in “Mask,” the cultural heritage of humanity, is also increasing. In this context, this exhibition introduces the fascinating spiritual culture of Korea and ASEAN people in five parts.

▲ The first section, with the theme of “Origin of Masks,” showcases and introduces the origins of shamanistic masks intended to ward off disaster and disease and to pray for good harvests, and masks for performance in plays and other entertainment forms. ▲ In the second section, “Representation of Myth,” ASEAN mask dramas that portray an ancient epic are displayed. ▲ In the third section, with the theme of “Alternative Reality,” Tuong (Hat Boi) of Viet Nam is introduced as a traditional opera with moral messages, featuring its unique makeup technique that almost resembles masks. ▲ The fourth section “Reflection of Self,” shows masks used in local festivals in the Philippines and presents contemporary art works to contemplate the modern meaning of masks. ▲ The fifth section celebrates the inscription of “Talchum, Mask Dance Drama in the Republic of Korea” on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The exhibition runs from 10 a.m. to 5:40 p.m. at the T5 Story Hall, Oil Tank Culture Park with free admission (closed on Mondays). The exhibition offers guided tours on Saturdays and Sundays at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. No reservation is required for on-site attendance.

Ji-Sung Kim, the Director-General of ICHCAP, one of the co-host organizations said, “I am very pleased to be able to co-host this exhibition in Seoul to showcase the cultural richness and the beauty of handicraft.” He also expressed his desire to create a venue for diverse cultural exchanges through continued cooperation with the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the KF ASEAN Culture House.