— Visioning Tokyo by 20 Artists for the past 10 years
The Backers Foundation and Arts Initiative Tokyo is pleased to announce the coming exhibition, Tokyo A La Carte -The Backers Foundation and AIT Residence Programme (The BAR) Memories of 10 years from August 24th to September 1st at three venues, TOMIO KOYAMA GALLERY / ShugoArts / Taka Ishii Gallery in the complex665 building centrally located in Roppongi, Tokyo.
Since 2007, The Backers Foundation and Arts Initiative Tokyo (AIT) have been collaborating on the Artist-in-Residence Programme (The BAR) and invited a total of 20 emerging artists from 15 countries across Americas, Europe, Africa and Southeast Asia to support their artistic research and production in Japan. In 2012, to commemorate the 5th anniversary of the programme, we have showcased the exhibition Home Again—10 Artists who have experienced Japan at Hara Museum of Contemporary Art in Shinagawa to include all the artists who previously stayed in Tokyo from the year of 2007 to 2011. The exhibition was curated to organically nurture the space of the museum, which served as the private home once before. The key characteristic of The BAR is that it is collaboratively organized between members of The Backers Foundation, business experts, and AIT, a non-profit organization specialized in contemporary art. With support from art galleries in Tokyo, the programme created opportunities for each of the artists to present new works produced during their stay along with previous works. The works have been partially collected by The Backers Foundation. In its 12th year, to commemorate the completion of the programme, the exhibition Tokyo A La Carte—The Backers Foundation and AIT Residence Programme (The Bar) Memories of 10 years showcases various works by 20 artists in multiple venues and with generous support from TOMIO KOYAMA GALLERY, ShugoArts and Taka Ishii Gallery.
Through their works and artistic viewpoints, The BAR has learned about the complex histories of the artists' countries and the various trajectories that extend to the current state in today's diverse landscapes where these artists live and work. Originally from Afghanistan, Khadim Ali came to Japan in 2007 from the Hazara ethnic group who are native to Central Asia. His home country remains in a state of tension and the landscape of Bamiyan Valley remains as testimony to the tragic destruction of the two standing Buddha statues. Duto Hardono and Syagini Ratnawulan came over from Indonesia in 2011, after the disastrous earthquakes and the aftermaths from the Fukushima nuclear power plant, in response to the situation with their own memory from the earthquakes Indonesia previously suffered. A Guatemalan artist Alberto Rodríguez Collía from 2013 and a Kenyan artist Gor Soudan from 2014, both have undergone oppression and struggles in their artistic expressions and they joined the programme to pursue a sense of freedom in order to expand their passion towards research activities back in their countries. In 2016, Krishnapriya Tharmakrishnar from Sri Lanka took her very first journey outside of her country. She has had an extraordinary life experience in which she lost her mother during the civil war that continued until 2009 in her hometown, Jaffna.
These artists all lived and witnessed history being made and their artistic interpretations through unique experiences in Japanese society and interactions here were interwoven into their art production. Exhibiting these artworks and their practices widely again today will uncover diverse realities that are globally shared today.
Utilising the space of three galleries, the exhibition embodies and observes through three keywords: 'Urban Space' (TOMIO KOYAMA GALLERY), 'Inhabitants' (ShugoArts) and 'Imaginative Memory' (Taka Ishii Gallery), while each artwork from the different years come together in a space where cultural dialogues and its fruition in the current landscape of Tokyo through their eyes will be evoked.
We hope you enjoy a la carte of Tokyo served by 20 artists at the exhibition. On this occasion, the exhibition is also offering guided tours and a small and limitedly published catalogue, comprising installation views from the past residency exhibitions and comments expressed by the people involved.
Press release courtesy ShugoArts.