Art Setouchi in Ogijima 22010.09.16 by Cathy Hirano
Here we are on the 8AM ferry to Ogijima to enjoy a great collection of diverse art styles and approaches in a fantastic setting...
Photo : On our way
...such as Onba Factory (see May 20 article). Onba, which means "stroller", is the main means of transport on the island. The Onba Factory concept is to transform the islanders' strollers into works of art in collaboration with the owners. I was really happy to see that they've had a steady stream of customers and to find their fun designs parked in front of people's homes or being pushed along the street. For example:
Photos : An Onba with customized brake
Photo : An Onba taking a break
And here are some of the playful versions displayed at Onba Factory (Site #51).
Photo : Deco truck stroller
Photo : Iron bead stroller
Photo 05 Iron bead stroller front view
Photo : Horse-drawn wagon stroller
I also dropped in again at Kawashima & Dream Friends (Site #46), partly because I wanted to eat another Meon burger and partly to see how the Memory Drops display had evolved since I was last there. It's very participatory. Visitors can make their own memory drops to take home or leave at the site so the collection is growing.
Photo : Memory Drops
I was very lucky to find the artist, Takeshi Kawashima, there and I had the chance to chat with him and his lovely wife.
Photo : The artist and the work
*Thanks to Lara for the above 2 photos.
The Kawashimas live in New York very near ground zero. The shock of the terrorist attack inspired Kawashima to begin creating Memory Drops and the exhibit carries a poignant message for peace.
Photo : Memory Drop
I loved their approach: "You don't have to understand art. Just feel it and enjoy it." That spirit is really reflected in this site and in this art festival.
Photo : You and I Pillar 2010
The "You and I [Nawa] Ogijima Pillar 2010" designed by Mariyo Yagi is on the same site. Made with old cloth and other materials collected from the island, this, too, was made with islanders and volunteers, nicely dovetailing with the collaborative nature of the Memory Drop project.
Photo : You and I Pillar 2010
*Thanks to Pat for this shot.
One site I was really looking forward to was the Maison de Urushi Project (Site #50) and it did not disappoint. Kagawa prefecture where much of this festival is being held has some of the best lacquer artists in Japan and a wide range of techniques. Lacquer artists paneled two rooms of this house with lacquer, one black, one white ? and they are stunning, especially when you know how painstaking lacquer work is.
Photo : Maison de Urushi white room
The artist on duty was really informative and willing to answer questions and there is a very good English pamphlet available. To quote "As a material, a technique and a philosophy for making things, lacquer has never been more worthy of serious consideration, not only from the standpoint of tradition, but also for its eco-friendliness and durability." When I went, they were letting visitors add to the black room by sandpapering their own spot onto a panel. And in another room they were serving tea and traditional Japanese sweets on lacquer ware for JPY 500.
Photo : Maison de Urushi black room
There's just so much to see on Ogijima. I loved the whimsical music made by Akinori Matsumoto's Sound Scenes in Ogijima (#47)
Photo : #47 Sound Scenes in Ogijima
And stumbling across artworks in unexpected places like Rikuji Makabe's walls (Wallalley #58)
Photo : Wallalley
and Tomoko Taniguchi's Organ (#56)
Photo : Organ
Best of all are the people. Like this woman resting by Art Site #55. We joined her in the welcome shade and had a great chat. She assured us that the islanders are all good people, not a bad one among them, and I believe her. Many islanders are elderly and live on their own but they all help each other out.
Photo : Stopping for a chat
And, finally, the intriguing glimpses of island life and history, like this pirate-proof gate.
Photo : Pirate-proof gate
The owner explained that pirates raided the island fairly regularly up until the early 20th century. With the men and women out working the fields, the grandparents and young children were left vulnerable at home. People with anything to steal built their entranceways like this so that the house could be easily defended from inside.
Photo : Gate close up
*Above 2 shots also courtesy of Lara.
I'm sure by now you've realized that there's far too much worth seeing than a single article can cover. I hope you have the chance to go and see for yourself.