OINDRILLA MAITY SURAI, winner Art Scribes Award 2011 writes back to us from Gwangju

First impression: Gwangju, the city of lights

9th September: I arrived at Seoul and took a bus to Gwangju. What first caught my sight is the uniformity of colours in Korean life and culture. The same colour palette of pale brown, off white, black, gray and rarely traversed by shocking pink. Everything including cars, buildings and people and dresses. I found out the reason not until I visited the folk art museum the other day.

Everything in Korea seems to be inspired by nature. The harmony, the balance, the design, contemporary architecture. Only a nation surrounded with mountains and the sea can probably do it. Koreans know the art of effective designing and a touch of aesthetic prevails everywhere – starting from the bathroom door latches to the tiny corner of the windows – where there will be a tiny pot of flower placed in the order of the Golden Section.

Gwangju is the main centre of art and the city museum really spares no chance to inform its people and especially children about art. I was taken aback to see children sitting at a long table painting and putting their works up on the board with cut-outs of Joseph Beuys, (the museum is having a retrospective on him now) with finally stamping them with facsimile seals of Beuys’ famous Free International University. Yes that is how a responsible city museum does for its people.