Starting from 2017 the Warsaw Institute for Modern and Contemporary Asian Art Foundation is launching an ambitious cross-cultural project named WACAW Warsaw Asian Contemporary Art Week. A series of exhibitions and related programs will be presented which feature a broad spectrum of contemporary art, photography, performance, visual arts and new media from across Asia: workshops, discussion panels, an academic art conference and a trading platform.

The exhibition program of WACAW will focus on modern and contemporary Asian art, new media, visual arts and performance. It will engage in a dialogue between the past and present, tradition and innovation, and local and global concerns, as well as drawing attention to the continuities and differences in various Asian art forms over the centuries.

WACAW is planned to be held annually between the end of May and the beginning of June in Warsaw, Poland. The nearest dates are: June 2-9, 2017.

The centerpiece of WACAW is GAAB – Grand Asian Art Bazaar – a brand new art fair of Contemporary Asian Art representing private galleries and institutions of the region. The concept of GAAB reflects the wide geographical spread of the participants, ranging from the Middle East to Eastern Asia. In between the annual fairs GAAB is planned to occupy a niche of online art trade including a virtual gallery and a specialized auction.

The project was called ‘The Great Silk Road 2.0’ already a year before its launch. Its name refers to a trade route from China to overseas countries that passed through Poland in Medieval times.

On June 9th, 2012 the official presentation of WACAW was held in Warsaw, Poland. The event brought together artists, curators and academicians specialized in Asian contemporary art: Paul Gladston and Lynne Howarth-Gladston (United Kingdom), Alexandre Gurita (France), the Le Brothers (Vietnam), Thibaut de Ruyter (Germany), Gaisha Madanova (Kazakhstan), Tashi Norbu (Tibet), Elvira Eevr Djaltchinova-Malec (Poland). The presentation was followed by a public talk and a live performance by Tashi Norbu (artist) and Maria Chybowska (fluitist).

Denis Belkevich, Managing Director of GAAB:

“Being the fastest-growing contemporary art market in the World, Asian art market is expanding its borders by involving increasingly more countries from the region. In recent years Asia has brought out on the international art scene a number of talented young artists from South Korea, the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, India, Iran and many others. At the same time, contemporary Asian art has become more Western-focused. Asian art needed to be represented in Europe, as a central point between Hong-Kong and New York, and now this need is being realized in the GAAB project. We strongly believe that the rising number of European collectors will contribute towards the growth of the Asian art market”

Dr Paul Gladston, Professor of Contemporary Visual Cultures and Critical Theory at the University of Nottingham and Director of the Academic Programme, WACAW:

‘Contemporary art related to Asian identities has become increasingly prominent on the international stage in recent years. Not only that from Japan, Korea, India and China, but also newly emerging artistic communities in central and south-east Asia, the Middle East and Asian diasporas world-wide. This growing, conspicuously diverse international profile poses significant questions for previously dominant western(ized) conceptions of contemporary art as well as differing ways in which ‘Asian’ contemporary art might be interpreted. Warsaw Asian Contemporary Art Week (WACAW) is a timely platform for exploring such questions. It will also give audiences opportunities to engage with art works rarely exhibited outside Asian cultural contexts’ Dr

Lynne Howarth-Gladston, independent critic, curator and artist; curator of east-Asian art, WACAW:

‘As part the silk route during antiquity, Poland is a historical bridge between Asia and Europe. Warsaw Asian Contemporary Art Week (WACAW) is therefore perfectly placed for the showing of contemporary Asian art, which itself brings together western and eastern cultural thinking and practices. Contemporary art by artists of Asian identity challenges expectations by expanding the spectrum of western and Asian aesthetic experiences. As such, it also suspends absolute differences between East and West. WACAW has the potential to provide a lasting site for the rethinking of contemporary art practices beyond established cultural perspectives’

Alexandre Gurita, strategist in the field of art, Director of the Biennale de Paris and Iheap (Institut des hautes études en arts plastiques)) Paris and New York:

'The idea of presenting the art of Asia in Europe is representative of our time, where the local moves freely within the global. Poland is on the mid-ground between Hong Kong and New York, which I think is an ideal place to display contemporary art from Asia. This project is an adventure in art. It’s the adventure that makes sense, the rest is boring. I am looking forward to diving completely into this adventure. Personally, I would like to identify and highlight the most extreme Asian art practices; those that pose a question to art - an art without an artwork, which I call “invisual art”