Bangladesh will participate in the summer session of the ‘Setouchi International Art Triennale’ — beginning on July 20 in Takamatsu, Kagawa prefecture of Japan — to showcase the richness of art and culture on a global stage.
The [first session of] Setouchi Triennale 2013 kicked off on March 20, featuring works by 175 contemporary artists and groups from Japan, and about 200 artists from 23 countries and regions.
The government of Bangladesh (GOB) has decided to take part in the ‘Bangladesh Project’ of the Triennale during the summer session (from July 20 to September 1), and will showcase her flourishing arts and culture.
The 108-day event is held during three separate periods, between March 20 and November 4, and is taking place on 12 islands in the Seto Inland Sea, including Naoshima in Kagawa Prefecture, which is home to the popular Chichu Art Museum designed by architect Tadao Ando.
‘Setouchi International Art Triennale 2013′ is one of the largest international art festivals held in Japan. The first Triennale, held in 2010, was a grand success — attracting more than 940,000 visitors from both inside and outside Japan.
Indoor and outdoor exhibitions display works inspired by the landscape and culture of the islands — Naoshima, Teshima, Megijima, Ogijima, Shodoshima, Oshima, Inujima, Shamijima, Honjima, Takamijima, Awashima and Ibukijima.
The second Triennale, which is being held in three separate seasons this year (spring, summer and autumn), is expected to attract over one million visitors, with the extension of tenure and increase in the number of participating islands, as well as the heightened expectation engendered by the phenomenal success three years ago.
Major attractions include Ando Museum, an old house remodeled by architect Tadao Ando that just opened this month. Another is a large object jointly created by celebrity figure Takeshi Kitano and contemporary artist Kenji Yanobe, as well as an outdoor play starring actress Kaho Minami.
Talking to The Daily Star on March 19 in Takamastu, Emori Mieko, Director, International Affairs Division of Kagawa Prefectural Government, said that over 100 artists, including 15 noted painters, 45 textile, ceramic and rickshaw painters and 55 singers and dancers will participate in the 44 days during summer session.
She said there would be a total of 80 stalls during the summer session and since Bangladesh is the only country to participate in this festival as a nation, it will have 60 stalls and will definitely dominate the centre stage of this Triennale. Bangladesh venue for the exhibition has been selected on a huge ground adjacent to Takamatsu Port area.
Emori Mieko said that most of the artists and artisans, who will be traveling for the first time outside Bangladesh and come to Japan, are drawn from remote areas. They will paint on their respective subjects during the exhibition. Some will make boats with fabric. Besides, she said several rickshaws would be put on display.
Moreover, she said a 108 sqm area has been allocated for Bangladesh at the Takamatsu City Museum for exhibiting paintings and artworks of Bangladeshi artists.
While the richness and diversity of arts and cultural heritage, including music, theatrical performance, literature, paintings and crafts, attract many foreign visitors to Bangladesh, they remain largely unknown to the rest of the world.
Officials of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs in Dhaka said that Bangladesh’s participation would introduce positive images of the country to the people of Japan and beyond. The concept of “Rebranding Bangladesh”, the initiative that both the government as well as the private sector in the country has been vigorously pursuing, has also been developed from such perspective.
The writer is a Special Correspondent of The Daily Star and visited Japan from March 17 to 24 at the invitation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.