Ilgwang Beach, located on the coastline of Busan in South Korea, sets the stage for Sea Art Festival. Through site-specific installations and sculptures, this visual arts event encourages viewers to question their relationship with the sea and natural landscape.

Chosen for: Innovation.

Ilgwang beach is regarded as one of the eight sights of Gijang in Busan, making it a popular historic seaside village for local communities. Founded in 1987 as a pre-Olympic cultural event, Sea Art Festival was created to urge viewers to reflect on their role in the climate crisis. Through site-specific installations and marine-themed sculptures, the art on display is designed to forge a connection between viewers and the natural landscape. Sea Art Festival takes place every odd-numbered calendar year, alternating with the contemporary art show Busan Biennale, which returns on even-numbered years. It’s worth noting that Busan Biennale is one of the largest celebrations of Asian talent, an event that Sea Art Festival has been integrated into. Both events are organised by the same committee, who take a democratic approach to finding the next generation of innovative and creative leaders by issuing an open call.

Sea Arts Festival

The artists involved use water as the starting point for their creative inspiration, intersecting ideas on nature and art to create stunning displays of work for the open-air site. During the exhibition, the festival also offers academic and public programmes that can be done both online and offline. Experts in the academic field take part in discussions around liquid ecologies and the coexisting nature of human and non-human connections, while the public programmes involve yoga and meditative therapy sessions. By creating a dialogue between Busan’s history and culture, Sea Art Festival is both a local favourite and highlight for overseas visitors.

Sea Art Festival takes place every two years on Ilgwang Beach in Busan. This year’s event will be held in October 2023. Dates are yet to be announced.

Sea Arts Festival on Trippin 50