DIVERSITY IN THE ARTS TODAY
The term “people with disabilities” often evokes a somewhat unsettling feeling. Such people may seem distant or unknown. This sense of uncertainty slightly resembles the feeling we have when meeting someone for the first time. It is the same kind of mystery we have when imagining the language and lifestyles of people in a country faraway. Deep down, though, we know that great joy awaits us if we are able to transcend our differences and understand each other.
Part of The Nippon Foundation’s new project DIVERSITY IN THE ARTS, this website aims to build a platform introducing art created by people with disabilities from all over Japan as well as their diverse culture.
Many people with disabilities cannot speak. They engage with artistic activities as the means necessary for stabilizing their mental state and filling their minds with joy. For them, expressing themselves through art is as important as eating.
“Art” here is not something lofty that you can only talk about if you have knowledge or understanding of aesthetics. In the same way, the expensive price tags attached to artworks do not define their true values. Art appeals to our sensibilities, teaching us that there is no such thing as a single way of living. It is a world beyond language, offering us something we can all celebrate together. It liberates us from our fixed ideas and fascinates with its pure charms. We hope to share the world they create with anyone searching for more diverse ways of living.
What is “normal?” Is this also art? Is this person really different to me?
This website celebrating diversity in the arts encourages people to explore these questions as they learn about the artists. In this way, we hope to bring art back to our daily lives, help us appreciate more diverse ways of living, and head toward a truly rich future together.
About The Nippon Foundation DIVERSITY IN THE ARTS
As part of its work to achieve an inclusive society that is rich with diverse individuality, The Nippon Foundation provides support in the area of “persons with disabilities and arts and culture.”
The Nippon Foundation DIVERSITY IN THE ARTS is a new project that seeks to convey the significance and value of diversity by breaking down boundaries and spurring interaction, by planning various exhibitions that transcend traditional categorization and proactively disseminating cross-sectional information.
The project will hold numerous events, in which many people can participate and that will create new leaders and programs, in the run-up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Activities to be developed:
1. A diverse variety of exhibitions and other events, primarily in and near Tokyo
2. Increased acquisition of works and heightened public awareness of their value
Social welfare, art and culture, life, innovation
The Nippon Foundation has been involved in support for persons with disabilities in Japan and overseas for many years, and support for artistic activities at social welfare facilities has been one area of our involvement. Many concepts and terms are used when discussing the field of persons with disabilities and artistic culture, including “self-taught art,” “outsider art,” “art brut,” and “contemporary art.” In 2010, more than 120,000 people visited the Art Brut Japonais exhibition in Paris, and this led to The Nippon Foundation’s launch of the Art Brut Support project, which sought to raise questions about what art should mean in the future.
Since 2010, facilities for persons with disabilities around Japan have been setting up small art museums in their local communities to exhibit works of art created by users of those facilities, and The Nippon Foundation has provided support to renovate traditional buildings in those communities as art museums, identify curators for those exhibitions, and produce exhibitions. The Foundation is also storing the 732 works by 46 artists that appeared in the Art Brut Japonais exhibition, safekeeping them in proper conditions and lending them to exhibitions. The Foundation also plans to expand the collection going forward.
Our activities are not limited to visual arts, however. We are also producing videos that show works of art being made, and are proactively supporting employment for persons with disabilities through art and design.
As the promotion of artistic activities at social welfare facilities spreads nationwide, the movement is being recognized both in Japan and overseas, and this has led to active discussion regarding the next steps to be pursued. The Nippon Foundation DIVERSITY IN THE ARTS is a new project that will build on these successes and move forward in new directions.
For inquiries, please click CONTACT.
Chief editor : Eri Ishida
Editor : Emi Sato
Art director : So Hashizume
Web director : Shunya Hagiwara
Programmer : Miho Maruyama, Saori Miura