#01 / Something “a little daunting” and something “full of joy!”

2020.6.1

Thank you for visiting the website for our exhibition, Art Museum • “Seeing Us: Living in Japan with Roots Overseas”. This website is hosted by Immigration Museum Tokyo, which began its activities 10 years ago. Nice to meet you, my name is 魚穴安日 [a play on words read as “Uo-hole An-day”] a.k.a. Andy Warhole (lol).

I was hoping to title my self-introduction “Welcome to Director Andy’s Corner!” so that it would be the first thing you see in the page menu on the left, but in reality, our “art museum” hasn’t opened yet and the “director’s office” is locked… Up until this point, things had gone as planned. However, it is a little daunting to talk about the future. This museum was schedule to open on August 22nd, with this exhibition going for one month, but it has been postponed like many other cultural events as a preventative measure against the spread of COVID-19. After two years of planning with our staff, it’s painful that these plans have been reluctantly changed. On the other hand, under the current COVID-19 circumstances, people are becoming aware of those with roots overseas and an ideal way forward for society is taking shape—things that only become visible at times like these. For me, this news has brought me back to reality after drifting in my dream of being appointed the first director of this museum. That’s when I realized: this postponement is a grace period for us to better learn and understand those with roots overseas.

So far, I’ve been talking about something “a little daunting”, but I also want to talk about something “full of joy”! This ambitious exhibition was planned not only to have a unique theme but also to think about the structure and function of a museum. That goal is made of three core categories: (1) “Multicultural Coexistence and Art Practice”, held throughout different areas of Japan; (2) “Approaches from Contemporary Art”, led by guest artists; and (3) an open call exhibition for those with roots overseas, regardless of artistic experience or age. This third category closed its call for participants on May 22nd, gathering more than 100 works from 50 people from all around Japan. With the number, quality and variety of submissions being higher than expected, our staff were shocked into renewed excitement. We are very grateful to everyone who answered our open call. All of those works are currently visible on this website. From among these, we will carefully select works for the main exhibition. In discussion with our staff, I would like to introduce works I am personally interested in bit by bit, here in “Director Andy’s Corner”. To be sure, we will announce the latest exhibition information as soon as possible.

I plan to update Director Andy’s Corner several times per month. Please stop by once in a while.

Take care,
Andy

#00 / We are looking for interesting works!

2020.3.23

How long have you been living in Japan?
Only a few months? Or have you lived here for years?
Like many countries in the world, there are good and bad things about Japan. Let’s call it “cultural difference”. I guess you are living every day feeling these “differences in culture”. If you share this feeling, you may convert these “differences in culture” to “surprise” and “interest”, and eventually contribute to mutual understanding.
Do you know that if you paint, take a picture, make crafts, knit mufflers or decorate a room, you may have already put your feeling of “cultural difference” in your works?
Our museum welcomes these works that you have produced.

One more thing: If there is something called “cultural difference”, then there must also be something called “cultural similarity”. This is even more interesting than “cultural difference”.
On that note, but I love coriander. Originally, coriander was not used in Japanese cuisine. It was originally grown somewhere around Egypt, but then spread throughout Europe and Asia, from the West in North Africa’s Morocco, to the East in China’s Coriander Road.
Yet, for example, is the taste and use of coriander in Portuguese cuisine the same as that in Vietnamese cuisine? If we show both of them side by side, we can observe the small differences between them by comparing their similarities, yielding a deeper understanding of both of them.

You can also create such encounters in this museum with your artwork.
All themes and materials are welcomed. There is no need to worry about quality, either. We are looking for interesting works!