Unusual Local Art Festivals To Visit
In recent years art festivals have been popping up in more ‘local’ Japanese areas, allowing visitors to experience the cultures and peoples of regions outside of the well trodden major tourist spots such as Tokyo, Yokohama and Kyoto. Here is a trio of triennale to get your creative juices flowing.
Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale
“Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale Art field” has been held every three years since 2000 in Echigo-Tsumari, Niigata, and is one of the largest art festivals in the world. The theme of next year’s festival, slated to run from July 26 through September 13, is ‘ Art is how people engage with nature and civilization’. The best way to see the artworks is by car as they are dotted about a very wide area. However, a special shuttle bus and taxi service (basutaku) has been organized to make sure the exhibits can be viewed by as many visitors as possible. For the latest installment, around 100 new artworks will be on display. These will complement the 200+ legacy works that have been curated and maintained from previous festivals. The local community plays a very big role, turning over buildings, museums and even schools closed for the summer, to make it a very distinctive triennale that will no doubt leave a lasting impression on those who are able to get along.
The festival of modern art “Setouchi Triennale” is held once every three years on 12 islands and 2 harbors in the Seto Inland Sea, including Naoshima, the home of the renowned Tada Ando museum. The festival features works from modern artists and architects, both international and domestic, and is created with the close corporation of the people living on each island. This cooperation is vital to the festival’s success as it takes place in three stints – about a month each in the spring and autumn, and two months over the summer. Many of the pieces will remain in place throughout the year and indeed beyond the festival’s closing. In addition to the art pieces, the festival is packed full of music, drama, and dance performances. Though the next one is not taking place until 2016, it is incredibly popular so it’s wise to plan if you are intending to visit. Early accommodation booking is particularly important if you are thinking of staying on Naoshima, which is where many of the events will take place.
The 3rd Aichi Triennale will also take place in 2016, running from August 11 to October 23. Exhibitions will be held in multiple venues spread across three cities located in Aichi prefecture, Nagoya, Toyohashi and Okazaki. Previous editions have attracted strong international participation as well as bringing many overseas visitors to see the culture of the region firsthand. A variety of performing arts including opera, dance and music will be represented in addition to the more traditional art pieces. 2016’s theme is titled Homo Faber: A Rainbow Caravan, described by the creative director as ‘humankind’s creative journey into the unknown’, which will no doubt encourage all manner of cutting edge installations.