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After a one-year postponement, the 2nd edition of the Northern Alps Art Festival takes place throughout the entire city of Omachi from 2 October to 21 November, 2021.
As in its first edition, the festival’s general director is Fram Kitagawa, known for his success at the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale and Setouchi Triennale, which are internationally recognized as pioneering projects to regenerate rural areas using art as a catalyst. For this edition, Akira Minagawa, a fashion designer and the founder of the mina perhonen label, participates in the project as visual director.
Under the concept “Water, Wood, Soil, Sky,” 36 artists from 11 countries and areas have created site-specific works highlighting the nature, history, culture and local resources of Omachi.
Omachi is located in an alluvial fan on the east side of the Northern Alps in the central part of the Japanese archipelago where the Central Divide and Fossa Magna run. Surrounded by 3,000 meter high mountains, it is blessed with abundant water of melted snow streams and lakes, fresh air and a scenic natural landscape, which has fostered a unique lifestyle and nurtured a distinctive culinary culture.
Omachi used to be prosperous as a post-station town along the salt road to the Japan Sea and an important hub for transportation. From the early 20th century to the period of the rapid economic growth, Omachi developed due to aluminum refineries, cotton spinning mills, the dam construction, and tourism. However, it has suffered from serious decline in industries, depopulation and aging.
The art site of the Northern Alps Art Festival 2020-2021 consists of five areas featuring the characteristics of the region: The downtown area, dam area, headwaters area, Nishina Three Lakes area, and Eastern mountains area. The visitors will discover and interact with the region and local people, while traveling from one work to the next through the regions.
Faced with the global environment crisis, artists from around the world and in Japan have found many possibilities and created wonderful works there. The works suggest where we humans come from as well as the power of the place created by water, wood, soil, and sky. They also teach us how to live in the midst of the pandemic.
Dates & Facts:
2 October - 21 November 2021
Omachi City, Nagano Prefecture
Northern Alps Art Festival Executive Committee
Shuichi Abe (Governor of Nagano Prefecture)
Toru Ushikoshi (Mayor of Omachi City)
General Director: Fram Kitagawa
Visual Director: Akira Minagawa
37 works including 3 performances
From press information.
© Cover image on top: Nobuyuki Sugihara "The Ark of the Crystal in Alps", site-specific installation. Photo: Tsuyoshi Hongo