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Sapporo Tenjinyama Art Studio

swimming in AIR (remote online residency)

We can’t move from our habitual place again this year but we can release a kite to the sky and let it fly.

“The name of the thing is octopus and the squid in my hometown”

This is a haiku composed in Tokyo(Edo) in 1675 by a poet from Kyoto, Shintoku Ito. The kite-flying, which was called “squid climbing” in Kyoto, was written in response to being called “octopus” in Edo and it points out that the name of the thing was changed in another land. The Shogunate banned kite-flying naming it “squid climbing”, and to circumvent this ban the common people who loved flying kites nicknamed it “octopus” instead of “squid”. I thought this haiku describes the spirit of those common people, their irony, wit and sense of seeking fun. The generations that came after them were probably equally enigmatic, and that goes for the present generation too.

I see them as kindred spirits to the artists who do not give up the movement (= transformation). Although we are in the midst of a pandemic that has entered its second year, a kite may still fly gently through turbulent winds blown by the complicated history of the multiple ethnic groups that originated in Sapporo/Hokkaido. With skillful hands lifting and balancing in AIR, (“Artist in Residence” and “air of the atmosphere”) a kite can soar and I’m excited to see it. It is joyful and it can heal the fatigue that everyone has accumulated during the pandemic. We may face another constraint but we can cope through creativity, that’s the real pleasure of managing AIR. It might remind us of people going out with their kites ready for take-off and then a scene unfolds where the kites fill up the sky. These are sketches from my imagination that can be reflected in possible works from artists, project proposals and the direction of the program coordination. In any situation, AIR is a platform of creative activities and keeps a hold on the liberty to soar.

*City of Sapporo had announced since 2020 summer that Sapporo Tenjinyama Art Studio can not accept any artists who are based in the abroad until in which time Japanese government will allow any international tourists to enter Japan freely, so that International Open Call AIR Program has taken a new format of AIR, a remote online residency  as well as 2020-2021 winter so far.

*the research required to prepare the “proposal (a plan of art works, project)” is to have been done by applicants. 

 ■ Number of artists: 2 (people or groups) artists who are mainly in visual arts field

︎ Program schedule

1) Application period: April 29 (Thu) to June 25 (Fri), 2021

2) Announcement of the selected artist: July 11 (Sun)

 * It will be selected by SAPPORO TENJINYAMA ART STUDIOS Open Call Selection Committee.

3) AIR program period: 60 days / August 31 (Tue), 2021 to October 29  (Fri), 2021

4) AIR end result presentation (planned period): October 16 (Sat) to 24 (Sun), 2021

*Depending on the content of the artwork/project, the most suitable format will be chosen for presenting the final result and this presentation is organized in SAPPORO TENJINYAMA ART STUDIO or in an online format. When the exhibition format is chosen, it is possible to extend the presentation period.

Click here for more information.


Thursday 3 June, 2021
Friday 25 June, 2021

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