Purpose of event:
“HANARART Machiya Art Festival” is an art project that seeks to connect the rich past culture and traditional livelihood of Nara prefecture to the present and future times through the restoration of regional history and folklore.
This year will be the 8th HANARART Machiaya Art Festival.
The HANARART Machiya Art Festival serves a variety of different purposes. Firstly, it seeks to improve local towns through traditional house restoration projects and by offering tours of these restored structures to visitors. Secondly is the improvement of regional capabilities by creating a management system based on local town development groups. Thirdly, to help local residents feel pride and attachment to their towns through the setting up of contemporary art. Finally, promoting the exchange of ideas based upon local regional values from communication between local residents and artists all the way to the international sphere.
In HANARART, the definition of a “Machiya” is a building which demonstrates unique local culture and the livelihood of the people who lived there.
Explanation of the 3 HANARART Festival categories:
This is the main project of the HANARART organization. Guest curators and coordinators participate together to make a variety of contemporary art exhibitions. They seek to transmit new value towards the future by looking at and reconsidering local regional culture to understand the modern issues of Japan and in the process, come to new solutions.
The coordinators of this part of the festival are the town development community who possess a deep know-how of art festival management from years of practice. For this project, participating artists have joined with the local development community to foster and develop the uniqueness of the local area.
HANARART coordinators put together a small-scale project which prioritizes regional circumstances. It is a project goal that local people and artists will meet and step-up to work together and in the process develop good relations based on respect and mutual understanding.
Area: Kuzu, Yoshino Town
Organization: Kuzu-no-Sato Tourism Association
September 22nd (Sat) – 24th (Mon), September 28th (Fri) – 30th (Sun),
October: 5th (Fri) – 7th (Sun)
Festival hours: 10 am – 6 pm
Entry fee: free (Some events within the festival have fees)
Cooperation project: Kuzu no Sato Light Exhibition
Curator / Coordinator: Emi Ogata, Noriko Murata (General Incorporation HANAMARU)
Furtherance group: Housing and Community Foundation
Area: Yagi, Kashihara & Imai-cho, Kashihara
Organization: NPO Yagi Town Development Network, Imai-cho Townscape Preservation Party
Yagi: October 5th (Fri) – October 8th (Mon), October 12th (Fri) – 14th (Sun)
Imai: October 20th (Sat) – 28th (Sun)
Festival hours: 10am – 4pm
Host area: Soni Village area, Yoshino Town Kamiichi area
Town planning organization: Soni Cinema Executive Committee
Kamiichi Town Planning Organization Returns (Co-sponsored by Kamiichi Promotion Association)
Soni: October 11th (Thu) – 15th (Mon) 10:00 – 16:00
Kamiichi: February 10th (Sun) 16:00 – 20:00 & February 11th (Mon) 10:00 – 16:00
【Yoshino Town Kuzu Area】
Title: “Kuzu Tami”
The festival will be held on a street lined with “shops” emerging under the eaves of traditional rooftops. Besides art exhibits and shops, visitors can explore a local shrine, eat lunch on pleasant countryside field, stroll around the banks of the Yoshino River, and participate in performances and workshops. Exploring the area on foot at your own pace is “Kuzu Tami” style.
From the mythical area to modern times many stories have been told about the Kuzu region of Yoshino.
Legend says that the Kuzu-bito or the “people of the Kuzu” first emerged from stone in the ground to greet the arrival of Emperor Jinmu and prepare a feast for his coming of various foods including cooked frog. To this day, a special ceremony reenacting the feast is performed every year at Kiyomihara Shrine in Kuzu. In addition to the Kuzu-bito, it is said in the old story of the god Yamato Takeru that the mythical Tsuchigumo mountain people lived in a cave in the Kuzu area. To this day, old stories continue to be retold about the region in new forms, such as in Rika Nashiki’s novel Niutsu-hime which tells the tale of the child of Prince Oama (later to become Emperor Tenmu) obtaining the power of a god in Kuzu.
In the hunting and gathering culture before rice cultivation, the basic organization of life was the family and people did not own a great amount of property nor take much with them when they moved from place to place. It seems that although there was established territory and so on for survival purposes, lifestyle was relatively equal and independent.
Later groups of people brought rice cultivation, emphasized the creation of wealth, established a vertical society overseen by a wealthy ruler, and became the prototype society for the nation that exists today. After World War 2 and the establishment of fixed postal addresses in Japan, it is believed that “drifting people” (such as the Sanka people) ceased to exist throughout the country. However, in the area of Yoshino, this ancient culture of free movement was preserved in the woodcrafters who made vessels from the regions abundant forests. Even in modern times, artists and performers who continue their craft in various locations maintain knowledge and ways of living that are different from the norm.
Furthermore, due to a variety of different circumstances, people throughout the world have sometimes been forced to become drifters such as in the case of the various diasporas and those who are refugees. From these chaotic situations and the demands that they bring can come new cultural innovation and the spread of new ideas.
In regards to the flow of humanity, the movement of people and things has been dramatically accelerated in the development of automobiles. If one looks back in time past about 100 years ago, the history of walking culture in humanity is ancient beyond measure. Those who would travel between villages on foot, such as traveling artists, would have played an important role in the everyday life for settlers and stimulated human progress.
Ancient roads of soil created by the footsteps of our ancestors are now sleeping under modern asphalt streets on which cars pass over more than people. “Dying and returning to the soil of my hometown” is an old phrase which captures an important ideal of many who have come before. But now with the advent of the Industrial Revolution, unchecked urbanization, the rise of the nuclear family, and death without relationship to the land we came from, where is the “hometown?” We would like to make everyone think of those roads of hidden soil under the asphalt and their connection with the people of the past.