OTSU, Japan, Feb. 21, 2020 /Kyodo JBN/ --
Shiga Prefecture Announces Holding of Grand Opening Event
for “Disabled People’s Arts and Culture Festival”
- Former French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault Joins Event Visited by About 5,200 People -
The Shiga Prefectural Government announced that a grand opening event was held for the “Disabled People’s Arts and Culture Festival,” where visitors could see and feel artistic expressions by people with disabilities and others, for three days from February 7 (Friday) through February 9 (Sunday) in Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture. The event, hosted by the International Exchange Program Executive Committee for Disabled People’s Culture and Arts, featured a performing arts fair, a barrier-free film festival, and Art Brut (*) Exhibition, which had received high marks in Japan and abroad in recent years, among other programs.
(*) Paintings or works created in individualistic and creative ways based on sensitivity by people who are not professionally trained in fine arts
The festival attracted about 5,200 people in three days, and Shiga Gov. Taizo Mikazuki expressed his strong determination to promote artistic activities by disabled people, stating in his opening speech, “Mr. (Kazuo) Itoga, the father of welfare for the disabled, and other people created the artistic activities in Shiga Prefecture of freely expressing what one sees and feels, and many people have perpetuated them. We would like to spread them to the world.”
Photo1: Konan Dance Company
At the “World Forum” attended by experts from Japan and abroad, former French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, Masanori Aoyagi, former director-general of the Agency for Cultural Affairs, and other participants took the rostrum and discussed the social significance of Art Brut, among other topics. Moreover, members of a federation of prefectural governors and a federation of Diet members supporting disabled people’s cultural and artistic activities gathered and issued a declaration to further promote the activities toward the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Photo2: A speech by Shiga Gov. Mikazuki
Photo3: A forum by former French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and others
Photo4: A declaration by a federation of prefectural governors and a federation of Diet members to further promote disabled people’s cultural and artistic activities
At the art exhibition, about 500 creative pieces by 33 artists from Japan and other Asian countries, including Satoshi Nishikawa from Shiga Prefecture, engaged the hearts and minds of many visitors. Furthermore, during the performing arts fair, leading performers from across Japan, including those for “Zuihou Taiko” (Nagasaki Pref.), “Konan Dance Company” (Shiga Pref.), and “Iwami Kagura-Iwami Welfare Society Performing Arts Club” (Shimane Pref.), converged to exhibit a variety of theatrical arts such as local performing arts, music and dances.
In a hands-on experience program for inbound visitors to Japan, foreigners explored the “Shigaraki Seinenryo” welfare facility, the foundation of formative activities by disabled people in Shiga Prefecture, and the cityscape of Shigaraki before experiencing in molding clay with boarding students of Shigaraki Seinenryo.
The festival will go on tour for showing at several locations across Japan from fiscal 2020 through fiscal 2021, and the finale is also scheduled to be held in Shiga Prefecture. Taking the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games as an opportunity, efforts will be made to convey the charms of disabled people’s cultural and artistic activities to many people in Japan and abroad.
Photo5: Art Brut Exhibition
Photo6: A performance by “Iwami Kagura–Iwami Welfare Society Performing Arts Club”
Photo7: Visiting Shigaraki as part of a hands-on experience program
Photo8: Formative activities at Shigaraki Seinenryo
- Schedule of holding the festival
2020: May - Kyushu bloc (Nagasaki Pref.); August - Tokai-Hokuetsu bloc (Niigata Pref.); September - Chugoku-Shikoku bloc (Tottori Pref.); October - Hokkaido bloc (Hokkaido)
2021: around July-August - Kanto-Koshin bloc (venue undecided); October - Tohoku bloc (Iwate Pref.)
2022: February - Kinki bloc (Shiga Pref.) with a grand finale
*Details are available on the official website below:
- About disabled people’s cultural and artistic activities in Shiga Prefecture
In Shiga Prefecture, the venue for both the opening event and the finale of the festival, formative activities by disabled people began soon after the end of World War II thanks to hands-on activities by Kazuo Itoga, dubbed the “father of welfare for the disabled in Japan,” and other people. Shiga Prefecture started gaining attention from within Japan and abroad as a “transmission point for harmonious coexistence through arts” after the formative activities spread throughout the prefecture and the charms of such activities were disseminated through art exhibitions. At such exhibitions as Art Brut Japonais held in Paris in 2010 and “2017 Japan x Nantes Project,” artworks and performing arts by people from Shiga Prefecture received high marks.
Photo9: Exposition Art Brut Japonais
Source: Shiga Prefectural Government, International Exchange Program Executive Committee for Disabled People’s Culture and Arts