The Beginnings of the Asia Art Platform:
Fukutake House launches into the Seas of Asia
Fram Kitagawa｜General Director, Setouchi Triennale
Fukutake House, through the cooperation of cutting-edge art galleries in Japan and abroad, featured the private exhibits of energetic artists in the form of a mobile gallery at the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale in 2006 and 2009, as well as at the Setouchi International Art Festival 2010. It was packed with epoch-making seedlings for the new Asia Art Platform, an art project bringing different countries together.
1) A wide variety of art organizations, foundations and nonprofit organizations in Asia, in collaboration with the Fukutake Foundation (an organization engaged in art-related activities in Japan) 2) hold exhibitions on a common theme 3) with a restaurant that features the local flavors of each country 4) that is developed with the people of a small community of 800 and 5) held at the Setouchi Art Triennale, an international event with a large audience, 6) to become an activity held throughout the year.
Amidst rapid developments in modernization and globalization and as cultures unique to their localities are on the decline, it was inevitable for such an experiment to emerge from the goals of the Setouchi Art Triennale, using the various powers of art to regain pride in a way of life that is deeply rooted in the land and more than a thousand years old, and to share in the desire for life.
a) Art discovers the power of special qualities and location.
b) By being exhibited on (someone else’s) land with its inherent characteristics and as the consent of the locals must be obtained, a form of communication emerges that goes beyond cultural difference.
c) Art brings the community to the surface and as the piece takes root in the community, the locals join in creating it, serve tea to the artists, and so on. This is when the art is not just that of a single artist but of a community, and when the word "collaboration" takes form.
d) People then come to see the piece of art and the locals happily tell them about the piece, the artist, and the community. This gives them energy, and they realize again the joy of being alive and feel a sense of pride.
e) This also makes them conscious of their role in maintaining the art. At this point, the piece is like a baby that people come together for as they look after it. Art connects not just people to the land but also people to people.
Through the power of this art, the rich and beautiful Setouchi Inland Sea, once known as the "womb" of the Japanese Archipelago, reminds us of the preciousness of water and the sea – forgotten due to modernization and the urban focus – and brings new energy to the elderly. As they sense the importance of extending these links throughout Asia, the diversity brought by the sea, and an awe and gratitude towards nature, people can feel how precious it is to live where they are. We hope for Fukutake House is that people collaborate through art and the food of the locality, realizing the function of art since ancient times at the smallest and most important unit of the village.
I think that art is the one thing that can make each of the seven billion people on earth aware of their connection to the land. The global environment is confronting danger, and the course for civilization in being called into question, and within this, art has many more functions to play and is of greater importance than ever. Art was a close friend to humans in ancient times. Through the village unit that has forged the link between people and nature through land and time, we look forward to Fukutake House as it serves as a medium across the seas of Asia that share in the movement and spread of people across the region, doing what we can one step at a time.
The inaugural Asia Art Platform kicked off during the summer season of Setouchi Triennale 2013 at Fukutake House (Former Fukuda Elementary School) on the island of Shodoshima. Seven pioneering initiatives from around the Asian region were invited to nominate artists from their country to participate in a series of discussions, exhibitions and food programs, with the aim of confronting the homogenizing wave of globalization, while drawing comparisons to Shodoshima’s local situation. These partner organizations keep on meeting, exchanging, and exhibiting works of art on a regular basis with the aim of realizing joint projects, all the while working with people sharing different backgrounds, and will continue to do so in the future.
HONG KONG ART CENTRE
Opening in 1977, the Hong Kong Arts Centre (HKAC), a nonprofit arts organisation, has been providing the Hong Kong community with the most active programs for contemporary art and culture through exhibitions and arts education. The HKAC acts as a platform for local and international artistic cultural exchanges. It offers its audiences the experience of various art forms, including moving images, performing art, visual art, public art and comic art. The HKAC’s educational entity, the Hong Kong Art School (HKAS), was founded in 2000 and is an accredited institute. The teaching team is a group of dedicated artists. HKAC is also the Main Operator of the “Comix Home Base” (CHB), a unique platform for exchange and interaction for the comics industry, locally and internationally.
Taiwan Institute of Historical Resources Management
Founded in 2004, Institute of Historical Resources Management is a leading non-governmental organization in Taiwan, dedicated to informing, inspiring and mobilizing people in Taiwan to guard their neighborhoods, to appreciate the tangible and intangible dimensions of their living culture and to spontaneously participate in community-building practices. Currently the Institute’s primary concern and area of activity is in bonding urban inhabitants with their neighborhoods and communities, both in domestic and international areas. Through activities that preserve local memories and uniqueness, the Institute is able to mobilize a more respectful attitude toward the value of diversity and humanity, and to contribute to an acknowledgement of the uniqueness of Asian cultures.
Seoul Art Space Geumcheon
Seoul Art Space_Geumcheon is an international residency studio supporting visual artists, and is one of the nine arts support centers that make up the Seoul Art Spaces. Seoul Art Space_Geumcheon opened in a renovated print factory in Seoul in October 2009, and it has sponsored 131 artists from twenty-four nations as a residency studio sponsoring the aesthetic experiments and activities of artists. In addition to experimental workshops through collaborations between artists and communities, and through institutional education, Seoul Art Space_Geumcheon supports technology-based creative ideas that can be turned into business ventures.
Operators: Seoul City Government and Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture
Jim Thompson Art Center
Located in the heart of Bangkok, the art center’s reputation as a place to mingle, interact and exchange dialogue is rapidly spreading at home and abroad. The mission of the Art Center is to nurture artistic activities and create public awareness of both contemporary and traditional arts within a modern context. Previous exhibitions include those by Pinaree Sanpitak, Arahmaiani, Christian Lacroix, Apichatpong Weerathakul, Montien Boonma and Montri Toemsombat. In conjunction with its exhibitions, the Center’s activities include educational programs related to the exhibitions, outreach programs, conferences, seminars, lectures, workshops, publications, networks and collaborations with local and international art institutions.
Operator: James H.W. Thompson Foundation*
*Named for the American businessman who assembled a Thai and Southeast Asian art collection.
Founded in 1990, the Substation is Singapore’s first independent contemporary arts centre. Since its inception, The Substation has supported local and overseas artists by promoting research, experimentation and innovation in the arts, and aims to bring different artistic perspectives together in critical dialogue. The Substation’s core programs include Open Call (an incubation platform for visual art, sound art and performance), the Associate Artist Residency Program and Moving Images (Films).
Founded in 1990, The Substation is Singapore’s first independent, contemporary arts centre. Since its inception, The Substation has supported local and overseas artists by promoting research, experimentation and innovation in the arts, and aims to bring different artistic perspectives together in critical dialogue. Over the years, The Substation has worked with some of Singapore’s most critically acclaimed artists, writers and intellectuals. We continue to work closely with young and emerging artists, supporting them and nurturing their growth through our core programmes and other means.
Based at the University of Melbourne, the role of Asialink Arts is to encourage dialogue and develop opportunities for cultural exchange and engagement between Australia and Asia based on the principles of partnership, collaboration and reciprocity.
Cemeti Art House
Founded by Nindityo Adipurnomo and Mella Jaarsma. Cemeti Art House’s main focus is stimulating art practice, art discourse and art management development. It has been exhibiting and communicating the works of both Indonesian and foreign contemporary artists since 1988. Its projects and residency programs revolve around reinventing “Art and Society,” with an emphasis on art processes and innovative social experiences.
John D. Rockefeller 3rd Award (2006, New York, USA)
Academic Art Award #2, Jogja Gallery / Art Institute Indonesia (ISI) Yogyakarta (2008)
Yogyakarta Biennale Art Award (2010)
Adhikarya Rupa Award, Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy of Indonesia (2014)