When contemporary arts practitioners from neighboring Asian countries, such as China, Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan, met at a recent international symposium, they found they hardly knew anything about contemporary arts in one another's countries.
"I've participated in exhibitions in many European countries, but I've never been to China and know very little about Chinese artists," said Kyrgyz artist Shaarbek Amankul, during the symposium, The Making of the New Silk Roads, held in Bangkok from Aug 28 to 30.
"Kyrgyzstan and China are neighboring countries. I really hope we can know more about each other."
Chinese architect and designer Jiang Jun, another participant, believes Chinese people have studied Western cultures without looking at other developing Asian countries.
"I'm looking forward to learning more about the cultures and arts of other Asian countries and discovering their different ways of thinking," he said.
Both Amankul and Jiang met many artists and scholars from various Asian countries and regions at the symposium, which examined the continent's latest cultural trends. European and Latin American countries were also represented.
"The idea of the symposium is to discuss and reflect on the dynamic, ongoing echoes of the ancient trading route, the Silk Road, and its multiple dimensions, and to reassess the complex interconnections within Asia's cultural and artistic spectrum at the beginning of the 21st century," said Davide Quadrio, director of Arthub, a Hong Kong-based non-profit foundation that organized the symposium.