Press Releases EU-ASEAN: “Weaving the Ocean” to celebrate 45 years of relations

EU-ASEAN: “Weaving the Ocean” to celebrate 45 years of relations

From 1 to 14 December the Halles St. Gery will host an exhibition “Celebrating European Union (EU) – Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) 45 Years of Relations”.
At the core of the multimedia exhibition is a community project named “Weaving the Ocean”, through which an artefact made of plastic debris from the ocean of Bali was woven together. It’s an inspiration of Indonesian artist, Ari Bayuaji, which will be displayed for the first time in Brussels, reminding us about the importance of preserving the environment, a top priority for both regions.

45 years of partnership

The exhibition tells the story of the partnership between the EU and the ASEAN through historical photos of high-level meetings, showcasing the depth and breadth of this cooperation, elevated to a Strategic Partnership in 2020 to solve global challenges together: be it the pandemic, economic relations, security, education, the green transition, or others.
The exhibition will also display testimonial videos featuring ambassadors, politicians, young leaders and journalists from the EU and ASEAN who have contributed to this region-to-region partnership in the past 45 years.

“Weaving the Ocean”

The textile sculpture “Weaving the Ocean” is created from plastic threads using ropes found on the shorelines and mangroves on the coast of Bali. The inspiration came to Ari during the pandemic, while walking on the beach, where he found that many roots of mangrove trees were tangled in plastic ropes, and he decided to use the plastic as material for weaving. The artist’s project engaged local people when the economic situation in Bali was difficult due to the lack of tourism, while at the same time it contributed towards raising awareness on the importance of preserving natural resources.

In Ari’s words, “The answer is to be found in nature. In nature we can find hope for a better future. Interweaving our culture and nature in a harmonious manner is one of most hopeful things human beings can do.” He believes this project and his idea of replacing vanishing materials with new “natural” materials easily found can be replicated in many countries.

In Brussels, the sculptural textile invites youth from both regions to express their views and expectations about the future of EU – ASEAN relations and what they believe the leaders’ priority of action should be. Their wishes, thoughts and concerns will be gathered online and published on the day of the EU – ASEAN Commemorative Summit, on 14th December 2022.

About the artist

Ari Bayuaji graduated as a civil engineer and worked in Indonesia before deciding to move to Montreal, Canada in 2005 where he studied Fine Arts at Concordia University from 2005 to 2010. He now divides his time between Montreal and Bali. The artist is known mainly for his installations that incorporate the use of found and ready-made objects he collects from various parts of the world, thereby exposing himself to the different cultural traditions. Ari Bayuaji has participated in numerous artist residencies in Denmark, Indonesia, Germany and the United States. The artist’s work has been exhibited in major solo exhibitions in Singapore, Taipei (Taiwan), Ste-Alvère (France), Dusseldorf (Germany), Rotterdam and The Hague (The Netherlands), and Jogjakarta (Indonesia).

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About the organisers

About the EU

The EU is the economic and political union of 27 Member States, with a population of 447 million. Together, the EU has built a zone of stability, democracy and sustainable development, while maintaining cultural diversity, tolerance and individual freedom. In 2012, the EU was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for advancing the goals of peace, reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe. The EU is the world’s largest trading bloc and the world’s largest source and destination of foreign direct investment. Collectively, the EU and its Member States are the largest donors of Official Development Assistance (ODA), providing more than half of ODA globally. The 27 Member States are: Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland and Sweden.

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About ASEAN 

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was established on 8 August 1967 and comprises ten Member States: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam. On 31 December 2015, the ASEAN Community was formally established. The ASEAN Secretariat is based in Jakarta, Indonesia.

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About EU-ASEAN relations 

The EU and the ASEAN have been dialogue partners since 1977, with the shared values and principles of a rules-based international order, effective and sustainable multilateralism, as well as free and fair trade. The partnership brings together 37 countries and over one billion people. Following the 23rd EU-ASEAN Ministerial meeting on 1 December 2020, the EU and ASEAN opened a new chapter in their longstanding relationship by becoming Strategic Partners.

2022 marks 45-years since the establishment of the EU-ASEAN Dialogue Relations and many events were organised throughout the year to celebrate the partnership, including the ASEAN-EU Cultural Festival and the EU ASEAN Young Leaders Forum.

On 14 December, the EU and ASEAN will meet in Brussels for the first ever EU-ASEAN Summit. Back-to-back to the Summit, the following events will take place:
•    The 10th ASEAN EU Business Summit, 13 December 2022
•    The EU – ASEAN YOUTH Summit 13, December 2022

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