About Spirit of ‘North’

The Project Purpose

“What do individual persons envision from the word ‘north’ or the spirit of the ‘north’?”
With this question serving as the theme, the art project series Spirit of ‘North’ has seen the participation of people in the Tohoku region and from other northern countries, specialists in various fields, and those who are focused on the north. The project explores the resonances that occur between those people as they face one another, while they also learn about one another’s spiritual natures and views of the world. It has been held annually starting from fiscal year 2012. Its activities are based in the Aizu region of Fukushima Prefecture, which has diverse natural features and rich traditions. This project sponsors artist-in-residence programs so that the artists can become involved in the community. We also organize exhibitions and symposiums, with the aim of studying aspects of the ‘north’ contained in a variety of fields, as well as hold gatherings with people who suffered through the Great East Japan Earthquake. In addition, we publish documents to archive our activities.

In the project, artists living in different northern regions deepen one another’s understandings, while also working together to encounter the Aizu region. They also converse with the local people and examine the affairs of that region. These activities can guide the artists to discover features unique to Aizu, as well as find commonalities between Aizu and the northern nations from which the artists are visiting. This also means that the local people can re-acknowledge Aizu, thus adding new perspectives and significance. Artworks are originated through such resonances between the region, the local people, and the artists.

The outcomes of each project (namely, creative expressions, what we have learned, and the relationships made between people) are not seen as transient accomplishments but as resources that can be accumulated. This project series that originated in Fukushima aims to generate new activities as the pivot point of the network, consisting of people living in the northern world with whom our ideas resonate.
In the aftermath of the 3/11 disaster, the Tohoku region has been in the process of recovery. Through our exchange activities, people can be guided to the idea that “Tohoku exists within the world.” One of the purposes of this project is to anticipate the idea that this identity can help the Tohoku people regain their dignity and recover their spirits.

Artist, Representative of Spirit of “North” Executive Committee
(Translated by NANPEI Taeko)

Spirit of “North” Executive Committee

IGARASHI Keita, INOMATA Masae, ENDO Takayuki, KANAZAWA Fumitoshi, KANEOYA Takeshi, KUDO Kiyotoshi, KURODA Ayako, SAKASHITA Shojiro, NAMAE Keikyu, BABA Yukiko, HIKITA Kansei, HIRUKAWA Yasuhiro, HOSHI Kouichi, MARUYAMA Tokio, MARUYAMA Yoshiko, MIYAZAWA Tomo, MUTO Hiroki, YABE Yoshihiro