This summer in late July, a group of University of Hong Kong students went on a study trip to Japan, visiting among other sites, the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale 2012. The trip was made possible with the funding from the University of Hong Kong Museum Society, the third student sponsorship to this triennale since 2006. The HKU students would like to express their gratitude by sharing their experiences, learning and understanding of some of the artworks encountered.
The Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale, unlike many other art biennales or triennials, is an example of how art can be used to serve the community. Echigo Province, located in the Niigata Prefecture outside of Tokyo, is an agricultural area, producing largely rice. Over the years, urbanization has led to the migration of younger Niigata residents to cities such as Tokyo. Consequently, Echigo, like many other rural areas, have seen a steady decline in population and a growing aging community. Villages are scattered with abandoned schools and empty homes. With support from various institutions – artists, curators and volunteers from Japan and abroad were invited to work with the local community to revitalize this area by building artworks in these forgotten sites. The art works are scattered throughout the region, and they speak to the region's concerns including community identity, intergenerational networks and agricultural ecology.
In this tea session, the students will be presenting aspects of their trip – introducing some of the artworks, their personal experiences of site-specific art spaces, and thoughts on the triennale and its ambitions.
Be inspired! Come and enjoy this Saturday afternoon sharing.