The 21 art students awarded from 25 colleges/universities in 8 countries gathered in Japan
The winners’ invitation event of the 37th International TAKIFUJI Art Award* was held for 2 days from November 8 to 9.
*What is International TAKIFUJI Art Award:
We are providing scholarships to the art students in Japan and overseas whose future is promising for the purpose of promoting public art and developing human resources for that. 13 art schools in Japan and 12 those in foreign countries, from Asia to United States and Europe, are designated. The scholarship amount is 300,000 yen per year. For the past 37 years, we have offered over 200 million yen to 714 students as a total scholarship. (See here for detail)
Atelier tour and workshop (Day 1)
On this day, 18 students and 8 supervising instructors for them, from Japan and abroad, gathered at the hotel lobby at 9:00 in the morning. About 30 persons, including our association staff, got on a bus. The destination is “CREARE Atami-Yugawara Studio”, a public art production atelier, at about 100 kilometers away from Tokyo. The bus came into the valley after about two hours while enjoying the scenery of Mt. Fuji peeking from clouds and the Pacific Ocean with raging waves washing. Although the atelier is located at Atami City in Shizuoka Prefecture, Yugawara Town is just on the other side across the river. At the valley where the trees overlap, the atelier designed by Kengo Kuma, well world known Japanese architect, is standing.
When they arrived, the manager of the studio gave a lecture about complete picture and history of the atelier with a movie. And lunch time had come. They sat at the benches or in the shade of trees and had lunch boxes. Although sandwiches are there, everyone including foreigners rather chose Makunochi, Japanese style lunch boxes. This is the first time for the students to see each other, but in an open atmosphere, the Japanese and the foreigners gradually threw off their reserve.
After lunch, the atelier tour was held. They learned how the public art works such as stained glass and ceramics relief are made while touching the materials. They also experienced cutting off stained glass with the special equipment. After the tour, a student from Germany said, “In Europe, stained glass is used only in old buildings such as churches, but I was surprised it is used in contemporary art as well in Japan. I think that Japanese people make better use of stained glass, which is traditional in Europe.” They looked with a gaze of admiration the technology of the atelier which is highly appreciated from home and abroad.
The next program is a workshop at “CREARE Art House,” the adjacent multipurpose facility. They tried to complete art works on plates with the size of notebooks, by combining colorful glass and ceramic plate pieces. Although it was just a workshop, when they started working, their faces turned into those of artists. After one hour, 18 works were completed which show considerable color.
Award ceremony and party (Day 2)
In the evening, the students who changed their dresses to formal ones gathered to the Happo-en, the venue. Passing through the Japanese garden and got at “Hakuho Hall,” they were all welcomed with the traditional Japanese tea. While waiting for the opening, there were full of enthusiasm with lively conversation of the students who became friends.
At 5 pm, the award ceremony started. Under the simultaneous interpretation of five languages, Me. Hisao Taki, Director General of our association and the sponsor of the ceremony, gave short speech to the students expecting for active role in art world in near future. After congratulatory comments from Mr. Kazuki Sawa, President of Tokyo University of the Arts, and Mr. Masao Hino, Managing Director of East Japan Railway Company, the scholarship was handed to each of the students on the stage from Mr. Taki. It was impressive that not only the students, but also the supervising instructors who assisted looked proud beside them. In the last half of the ceremony, Mr. Ryohei Miyata, the former president and emeritus professor of Tokyo University of the Arts, also rushed there.
After the awards ceremony, the party started. At the opening, a stringed music performance by Mr. Sawa, who is also a world-class violinist, and his students of Tokyo University of the Arts was performed, and the tension of the venue increased with brilliance and liveliness. After Mr. Miyata’s humorous greetings and a toast by Mr. Hidetoshi Otsu, a western painter and a member of The Japan Art Academy, it had a lively conversation here and there. The judges of the award advised the students about art production, and a variety of exchanges brought about, such as promising contacts among supervising instructors of colleges in Japan and overseas. In the latter part of the party, each student gave a presentation of his/her work. Their overflowing thoughts, such as the background on which the work was conceived and the messages that they put in it, were very interesting, and the attendees stopped talking and listened to it. Regarding the winners of the Grand Prize and the International Grand Prize, the supervising instructors also gave speeches, and it was impressive that they looked more pleased than the winners.
The conclusion of the party was the annual event, greetings by Mr. Hiroshi Onari, a director of Japan Artist Association Inc. and a sculptor, and performances of stampings with sumo wrestler style and a hand-clapping by Mr. Miyata involving the attendees. The unforgettable night was closed with the sense of unity rose to the highest level. We sincerely pray for the students’ future success!