Sunday, 25 March 2012

Naoshima Island

Yayoi Kusama "Pumpkin"
Naoshima Island, or 'Art Island' as it is affectionately called, is a Japanese island of pure indulgence for any art- interested person. It has multiple galleries, artist-run spaces and public art galore. The island itself is a fishing village that seems to have just as many cats as boats.

A recommendation for all is to do the Honmura Art House Project tour. You collect the map with the purchase of the tour at the Visitors Centre and are left to wander around the village to find these houses that have been turned into art installations. There are no fancy signs or neon indicators, the houses are for the most part randomly pocketed in small streets. A couple of the houses appear just like their neighbours from the outside. It was strange seeing people attend to everyday life as tourists search the streets. The names of the houses are Kadoya, Minamidera, Kinza, Go'o Shrine, Ishibashi, Gokaisho, and Haisha.

The Art House Project Guide

The Town Bus

You take the 'town bus' to get to around the Island and it's probably the cutest little bus in Japan. When visiting the houses, however, it is easier on foot. There are six all up and each one is very individual. From a zen experience, to a haphazard house of artistic explosions, to a house on stilts with a glass staircase that extends to an underground cave and a sensorial work that involves one's retina becoming accustomed to the light.

Shinro Ohtake
Dreaming Tongue/Bokkon-Nozoki
, 2006
Hiroshi Senju
The Falls , 2006
The Garden of Ku , 2009

Hiroshi Sugimoto, Appropriate Proportion , 2002

Street Art
 Everywhere you turn on this little Island there  is another quirky sight or artistic creation to see. It isn't the easiest place to get to, and a few days there is definitely recommended in order to see everything, but it is well worth it.

Seeing Yayoi Kusama's Pumpkin works is a wondrous experience in itself. The bright yellow piece is on the end of a pier, as if in deep contemplation with the ocean as it beckons all that walk past to interact with it. The red pumpkin is by the fishing piers and you are able to venture inside it. Watching the adorable Japanese children play in this sculpture was a treat. Kasuma has created works that are enjoyable on so many levels to many different people.

Saying good bye to the island came way too soon as there was, and always is, more exploring to do. If Japan is a place on you list of countries to see, put this wonderful little island on your to-do list. It will only delight and inspire!
Yayoi Kusama "Pumpkin"

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