Designation of Arirang Masters by Culture Masters Enhances Visibility of World Intangible Cultural Heritage

Mar 05, 2024

  • During its recent International Advisory Board meeting, the designation of 7 Arirang Masters from 4 countries, including India, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkey, was announced.

Culture Masters, a non-governmental cultural institute in Korea, has collaborated with its International Advisory Board to operate the Arirang Master designation program since 2023. This initiative aims to raise awareness of exceptional artists in the field of intangible cultural heritage and promote the safeguarding and promotion of such heritage.

The International Advisory Board, consisting of 16 members representing 13 countries across five continents, comprises distinguished international experts, including cultural scholars, experts, and artists. (Meet the members via

Based on the relevant Program Guide adopted by the International Advisory Group(IAB), the Arirang Master Designation is aligned with the spirit of the 1980 Recommendation on the Status of Artists and the 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage. It aims to revitalize and perpetuate the living heritage of Arirang, a significant aspect of Korean traditional culture. Notably, it carries the spirit of the UNESCO Arirang Prize, which was bestowed multiple times by UNESCO and the Government of the Republic of Korea in the early 2000s as part of the UNESCO program to recognize masterpieces of intangible cultural heritage.

The Arirang Master Designation Program seeks to elevate the status of artists, foster their creativity, transmit traditional knowledge, and underscore the importance of community. Candidates for the Arirang Master title must demonstrate exceptional skills, innovative value and creativity, and contributions to education in their respective fields.

In 2023, eight artists from five countries, namely Vietnam, Uzbekistan, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, and Korea, were appointed as Arirang Masters following a thorough review by an international advisory group.

During the recent IAB meeting held on February 27, 2024, there was a revision of the operational guidelines related to the Arirang Master program. The IAB members also discussed the increasing global interest in intangible heritage globally, noting a rising demand for the appointment of Arirang Masters in several countries.

At this meeting, seven artists from four countries—India, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkey—were appointed as Arirang Masters. These artists boast diverse cultural backgrounds and have been recognized for their outstanding artistic proficiency, innovation, and educational contributions.

The newly appointed Arirang Masters are as follows:

  • Asel Kalkanova (Kyrgyzstan) was acknowledged for her dedicated efforts in preserving traditional Kyrgyz clothing-making methods, particularly Elechek-making, and for her significant contribution to the preservation of intangible cultural heritage through educational activities.

  • Namazbek Uraliev (Kyrgyzstan) is a master of the traditional instrument Komuz, acclaimed for his educational endeavors in transmitting traditional music.
  • Luhirakon Muminova (Tajikistan) was recognized for his contribution to Tajik traditional music, particularly in the shashmakom genre, and her commitment to education and cultural preservation.


  • Rahmatullo Hosimov (Tajikistan) received recognition for his remarkable achievements as a professional musician in traditional Tajik music, especially Falak.

  • Deniz Karalar (Türkiye) was acknowledged for his expertise in the field of KaragÖz shadow theater in Türkiye and his contributions to the preservation and educational transmission of traditional culture.

  • Guru Sadanam Balakrishnan (India) was honored for his lifelong dedication to Kathakali plays and his efforts in preserving and promoting traditional art forms.


  • Anwesa Mahanta (India) was acknowledged for her contributions to Sattriya dance, particularly for her efforts in disseminating this previously lesser-known Indian classical dance form globally.