Art Alert: The role of art in the environment: Japan's Yodogawa Technique to be presented in Cairo

Ahram Online , Sunday 14 Aug 2016

Hideaki Shibata, founder of the Yodogawa Technique art unit, will also participate in the “From Rags to Riches” project organised by Baad El Bahr for Cultural Development

Chinu, Uno
"Chinu, Uno" (2010), by Yodogawa Technique (Photo: Courtesy of Yukari Art)

A talk titled the “Role of Art in the Environment: the Way of Yodogawa Technique” by Hideaki Shibata, founder of the Yodogawa Technique art unit and an established artist and lecturer, on Tuesday 16 August, at the Japan Foundation Cairo Office Library.

In the talk, which will be delivered in Japanese with instant Arabic interpretation, Shibata will discuss the role of art in protecting the environment and will discuss the efforts made through his Art Unit, Yodogawa Technique’s works and its efforts in this subject.

Born 1976 in Okayama Prefecture, Shibata studied at the Osaka Bunka Fashion College. Upon his graduation, he co-founded his Osaka-based art unit Yodogawa Technique  with Kazuya Matsunaga in 2003. 

At Yodogawa Technique, Shibata and Matsunaga make their art works from garbage and drift.  

Shibata is also scheduled to participate in the “From Rags to Riches” project organised by Baad El Bahr for Cultural Development through collaborations with the artists.

Curated by Mashrabia Gallery of Contemporary Art, From Rags to Riches (FRTR) aims to create a different framework of city beautification, shedding light on a close relation with the community which it serves

FRTR is a pilot project that is wholly devoted to up-cycled public art in Cairo.

Working within the framework of city beautification, FRTR is initiated by Baad El Bahr for Cultural Development BEBA, curated by Mashrabia Gallery of Contemporary Art and funded by the embassies of Switzerland, Netherlands, Spain, and the Italian Cultural Institute in Cairo.

As the project aims to involve the artists in the process, they were asked to submit their proposals of how they picture the city’s beautification in relation to specific spaces, their physical, historical and cultural environment. The core material used in the projects comes from recycled objects. The shortlisted works were announced last June.

Speaking to Ahram Online in May 2016, Stefania Angarano, director of Mashrabia Gallery and the curator of the project said that the idea for the FRTR came to his mind after the 2011 revolution. "I have been living in Egypt for a very long, but it was the first time I felt that people started to have a consciousness about the city, approaching it as their space. They started to clean the streets and to paint the pavements. A new kind of interest in the public space emerged. I wanted to capitalise on this phenomenon.”

“On the other hand, many cities in Egypt and many internationally, have this chaotic look, one that lacks any concrete shape or structure. There is no planning of streets, gardens, squares, public spaces, and so on. Cities become a collection of cement blocks. They lack the aspects that would make them human.

All this needs revamping in the way of thinking. FRTR does not have all the solutions but it is important to show the context,” she added. 

Tuesday 16 August, 6pm
The Japan Foundation Cairo Office Library, 5F Cairo Center Building, 106 Kasr El-Aini Street, Garden City, Cairo 

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