Roppongi Art Night is one of the major art events in Japan and is held in Roppongi, Tokyo. The art festival is modeled after the famous French art festival Nuit Blanche, and like the Nuit Blanche, also showcases all its major events in one night. This year, the event will be held from 30 September (Sat) to 1 October (Sun) 2017.
This year's theme centres around Asian designs and is named Mirai no Matsuri, or festival of the future. It will be hosted by the main artist of the evening, the incredibly talented photographer and film director Mika Ninagawa! Roppongi Art Night will also be launching the main programme, the ‘South East Asia Project’ in which artists from South East Asia and Japan will work together with the Roppongi community to create art.
Mika Ninagawa’s works, combined with the South East Asian themed art pieces, will transform Roppongi Hills Arena and other venues around the city, into a colourful, vibrant place!
Mira no Matsuri, Festival of the future
In Japan, when people hear the word Matsuri, or festival, they often think of the lively processions in which communities give thanks and pray or worship a deity. As times have progressed, the term Matsuri has been expanded to include more modern music and art festivals as well. But at their core, all festivals have a common goal- to allow people to gather and create a shared experience, which can be passed on for future generations to build upon. This is the inspiration for the name Mirai no Matsuri.
This year’s Roppongi Art Night will feature art and performances from artists around the world, especially up and coming artists from Asia. These artists will come together to showcase and create art together, with the aim of inspiring the next generation of artists, and spotting potential through workshops.
The decision to hold Mirai no Matsuri at Roppingi was an intentional one. The aim is to enhance the image of Roppongi as a cultural hub, and offer a pioneering example of a neighborhood initiative within the vast metropolis of Tokyo. Roppongi Art Night will continue to keep developing and improving as the capital’s premier art festival.
Mika Ninagawa is a decorated Japanese artist that has received numerous awards for her work, including the renowned Kimura Ihei Photography Award. She is a film director, photohrapher and artist. Her films include the critically acclaimed historical drama ‘Sakuran’ (2007) and the psychological horror fim ‘Helter Skelter’ (2012).
Her 2008 solo exhibition has toured art museums across Japan and aborad and her solo exhibition at MOCA Taipei (2016) broke the museum's record for the most number of attendees. She is currently appointed as one of the executive board members of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games' Organizing Committee.
This year’s theme and graphic artwork was designed by Groovisions using Mika Ninagawa’s photographs. The graphic artwork will be displayed around Tokyo as the promotional images for Roppongi Art Night 2017. The installations and exhibitions featured will include her various unique motifs as well as her extraordinary sense of color.
The South East Asian project
The South East Asian Project is one of the main programmes of Roppongi Art Night 2017. Artists from South East Asia and Japan have been invited to work together to create a unique experience for the local community, showcasing South East Asian cultures and traditional art forms.
Through workshops and research of local history and culture, the project aims to introduce unique Asian cultural activities as well as extract potential local content. Of course, the pieces will fit the theme of Matsuri, and will allow the local community to interact with these artists, allowing exchange of ideas.
The most prominent South East Asian Project event is the ASIAN weekend event which will be held at Roppongi Hills. It is a contemporary art exhibition with art and cultural information from the various South East Asian countries. In addition, Installations so be set up all over town.
Main Featured Artists
Thai artist Navin Rawanchaikul will be creating films, paintings and dance performances. The works will feature the residents of Roppongi and their unique lifestyles. His work has been featured in solo exhibitions at MoMA P.S.1 in collaboration with Public Art Fund, New York (2001); Tang Contemporary Art, Hong Kong (2008); and Valentine Willie Fine Art, Singapore (2011).
The artist group Neo Angono based in the Philippines are famous for their local Filipino Higantes Festival that honours San Clemente, known as the patron saint of fisherman. The hallmark of this festival has to be the parades of towering giants made of paper-mache, some as tall as fifteen feet! They will be presenting original work from the Higantes Festival at Roppongi Art Night 2017.
The National Museum of Art Okutama will also have an exhibit that focuses on visual and media art. Many of their members have presented works around South East Asia. They will create an Asia themed ‘human clock’ this year, as part of the festival, where humans will act as the clocks' hands to create a unique art experience.
The festival will be held around the Roppongi area of Tokyo. For a specific list of the various venues of each of the events, click here.
The main events will take place from 30 Sept, 17:30 to 1st Oct 05:30, but there will be events throughout both days. This is mainly an all night festival. There will be free shuttle buses operating between Roppongi Keikigaka ⇔ Shibuya / Shinjuku / Ikebukuro / Kichijoji / Kokubunji / Tachikawa after midnight.
Admission is free, with the exception of certain museum events and programmes. For a list of the event prices, click here. For more information, click here for their English website or click here for their Japanese website. They have an excellent English website with all information required. I strongly recommend that you visit the website and find out which events you would like to attend.
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