KENPOKU Art 2016: Why You Need to See This Incredible Art Festival in IbarakiBy Jessica Sayuri BoissyFrom September 17 to November 20, six cities; Hitachi, Hitachiota, Takahagi, Kitaibaraki, Hitachiomiya, and Daigo, have been transformed into live venues that re-envision contemporary art through an integration of nature technology, and community.
Japan’s largest art event, the name “Kenpoku” comes from its breathtaking location on the northern tip of Ibaraki Prefecture. Spanning 2.6 times the area of Tokyo, the festival features artists from all over the world – giving rise to an eclectic and endlessly fascinating exhibition that’s up there with some of the world’s best art festivals.
But why northern Ibaraki?
Despite the modern reality of rural Japan’s aging population, this picturesque pocket of Japanese countryside isn’t lacking in creativity or culture. In fact, northern Ibaraki has historically been an area of innovativion.
Supporting the modernization of Japan during the Meiji era, copper mines found throughout Hitachi are a testament to the prefecture’s entrepreneurial spirit while renowned Tsukuba University in Tsukuba City leads the pack in national scientific research.
Given its close proximity to Tokyo, northern Ibaraki was picked as the ideal setting to host a contemporary art festival rooted in rural communities that balance on the periphery of Japan’s rapid urban development.
What to expect?
Spotlighting a diverse roster of talent from 85 participating artists – of which 30 hail from foreign countries, 13 have taken up residency in Ibaraki, and 8 are Ibaraki-born – KENPOKU Art is not simply large-scale, it’s a borderless platform.
The idea is to demonstrate a universal appreciation of art that transcends culture, language, and the concept of space, presenting site-specific exhibitions in both traditional and unexpected environments.