Northern Ibaraki Prefecture, home to six regional cities and the venue for KENPOKU ART 2016, is a place of fascinating contrasts. Richly endowed with nature, the combination of scenic ocean and mountains lend it a truly unique atmosphere. Life is rooted in traditional culture and society, but the region, located just outside the metropolis of Tokyo, is close enough to feel the latest technology and culture.
Looking back on the history of Ibaraki Prefecture, we see that the region played a major role in Japan‚Äôs modernization in the Meiji era and thereafter. Mines were opened toward the end of the Edo era, and the discovery of copper mines in the surrounding area of Hitachi contributed to the development of industry. On the other hand, Izura in Kitaibaraki is known as the place where Okakura Tenshin, who advocated the importance of Asian aesthetics, along with Yokoyama Taikan and others, moved and set up an art community to work toward developing modern Japanese art.
More recently, the artist Christo conducted his project The Umbrellas centered in Hitachiota, which attracted worldwide attention for its groundbreaking style of artistic communication. As home to several universities, including the University of Tsukuba, and the site of the international exposition, Tsukuba Expo ‚Äô85, Ibaraki Prefecture is a hub for the development of both art and science and technology in Japan.
As an art festival, KENPOKU ART 2016 builds on this long legacy. Through it, we highlight the spirit of innovation in Ibaraki and focus on collaboration between art and cutting-edge science and technology while engaging in dialogue with nature. In the present day, art is no longer limited to paintings and sculpture. Media art using science and technology and even art applying biology that may transform the next generation are emerging. Ibaraki is the perfect place for this art festival, which introduces the new potential of art.
Being creative leads to living better and a richer life. Throughout history, humans have exercised their ingenuity, creating things of all sorts and innovating technology in the process. Joy comes from going forward with new attempts, unique ideas, and original perspectives. Through art, we want to share this joy with the people of Ibaraki.
It is art that makes the integration of nature, science and technology, and humanity possible. We believe that only art can reveal a new vision for the future by bringing together diverse knowledge and creative minds, encouraging collaboration beyond individual fields of work and activities rooted in community, and imparting philosophical perspectives and the joy of living.
With this conviction, we would like to bring cutting-edge artworks that can evoke ‚Äúastonishment and moving moments‚Äù to the towns of the region and their rich environment of sea, mountains, history, and everyday life. In this way, we will make KENPOKU ART 2016 a very unique art festival, one that is deeply rooted in local communities and that can only be produced ‚Äúhere and now.‚Äù It is my hope that through this festival, not only local residents, but also many interested people in Japan and foreign visitors will discover the beauty and charm of northern Ibaraki Prefecture.
General Director, KENPOKU ART 2016