There’s a town called Nagakute next to Nagoya in Aichi Prefecture. Some of you might recall the name if I say that Aichi Expo was held there in 2005. They have an interesting event called “Nagakute Art Festival” every year, and you can see many art works in 30 sites during the period. It was held from October 20 to November 4 this year. I went to see some on October 20 and 28. I’m going to write about it in twice.
On October 20, first I visited Gallery Ryu. Mr. Takashi Watanabe used to be a great Noh mask craftsman, but now he is into creating glass objects in which a Noh mask molded. First of all, he carves an elaborated Noh mask. Secondly he makes a plaster cast of it and its mold, and then pours glass into the flask. This is a technique for glass crafts called pâte de verre in French. The expression of his glass masks change when you look at it from various angles because of the difference of reflection of light. When I looked into each mask, they smiled back to me eerily at secrets…
Next I went to Tane-An. The building is more than 400 years old. It used to stand by the Horikawa River as a wholesale depot, but it was relocated in Nagakute about 80 years ago as a storehouse and now is used as an art gallery.
The owner is Mr. Taneatsu Takeda. He runs an iron factory. He has become an iron art craft worker through his job. The strong and hard material shows its soft character after it became an art by Mr. Takeda’s hands. All of his works look humorous. It must reflect the artist’s personality. Recently he has been interested in pesticide-free production and grown rice and vegetable by himself. He gave me some dumplings made from his rice when I visited.
I thought I was lost. After leaving Tane-An, I headed for Takayoshi Mexico Art Museum. Is really there a museum around here? I was in an industrial area. Yes, it was there! I was very surprised to see the museum appear suddenly at the dead end of the narrow path. According to the owner, there is a holiday called Day of the Dead in Mexico in November. That is why there were many exhibits related to death in the museum when I visited.
The owner runs not only the museum but also an art craft company, where they make ceramics, glass things, and wooden items. He and his family kindly showed me around their factory as well. Their dog Rocky also welcomed me.
Next I went to see wears and ornaments made from old kimono. The artist rips materials and then weaves with them, or uses some parts of kimonos and makes new things with them. I could not take the artist’s picture because she was very shy.
Finally I went to a temple: Jufuku-In. The temple was established in 1584 but was in another place: Kiyosu. Then it was replaced in Higashi-ku, Nagoya, in 1610 and kept being there until it was burnt down at the war in 1945. Then it was replaced again in this place in 1967. The temple has a long history and some old Buddha’s images made in 1300’s. But the old-line temple has taken part in a contemporary art festival! That is interesting!
I was able to see lots of beautiful art and craft works, to meet some artists, and to hear from them many interesting stories through the event. I had a really wonderful time. Why don’t you come and see the event next year?