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Art project celebrates Korea-Australia friendship

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Published : 2014-07-06 20:58
Updated : 2014-07-06 20:58

The Australian Embassy in Seoul on Tuesday launched the “Australia-Korea Friendship Tree” art project to celebrate 125 years of contact between South Koreans and Australians.

The project will explore the connection between the two nations through old and new artistic mediums.

Smartphone users will be able to scan posters around Seoul to access a digital model of a tree, where they can view 125 images of Australian-Korean friendships, watch music videos from both countries, and even upload their own selfies. 
(Left to right) Project director Matt Jones, Gangneung Danoje Festival Committee executive director Kim Dong-cahn, Committee for the Democratization of North Korea vice president Kim Young-soon, Australia’s acting head of mission in Seoul Brendan Berne. (Nick Gowland/The Korea Herald)

The project will also take a physical, message-bearing tree to schools in Seoul and Sydney this September and October, to educate young people about the other country’s culture.

Project director Matt Jones says he was motivated by what he saw as an incomplete treatment of the relationship by both nations’ governments.

“They were trying to meet the ends of friendship by just talking about trade, which was used almost as a synonym for friendship,” he said.

The acting head of Australia’s diplomatic mission in Seoul Brendan Berne said projects like the Friendship Tree are vital in compensating for the limits of formal diplomacy.

“The future of the relationship will be, on the economic side, an investment story. This means people coming to each other’s country, working on the ground and setting up new businesses,” he said. “This requires not only relationships and connections, but a familiarity with the other culture and language.”

For more on the Friendship Tree, visit www.socialalchemy.com.au

(ngowland@heraldcorp.com)

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