Project area:Shiogama City, Miyagi Prefecture
Believing in the power of human imagination and spirit
Let's create memory and enjoyment to be shared in each moment
Reconsidering the Meaning of Art & Culture
Birdo Flugas was founded in 2006 in Shiogama city as a space for encounter between art and people. Through connecting Japanese artists with artists in North America a range of exhibitions and children's workshops were facilitated from which many different encounters were born. Then this harbor town of Shiogama suffered devastation from the tsunami. Birdo Flugas, set on the coast line was no exception to this destruction, the building being badly damaged and flooded with 1.8m of water. And within this situation Takada called upon the "Break loose Birdo" workshop, which was initiated before the disaster.
"Before the workshop we were working together with artists from Miyagi prefecture and facilitating workshops with kindergartens and cultural centres etc. The kindergartens which I had worked with had suffered great damage and so we quickly moved to help them with resource support. After this we made workshops where children could unburden some of their stress and with the support of a distribution company held film screenings, trying to create a time for pure fun. I myself had suffered psychologically from the disaster and the space was also very damaged so it was not possible to continue to make the kind of exhibitions which we had been creating up until now."
While wrapped within an uncertainty never before experienced and continuing with workshops, Takada came to question the very essence of "art" and "cultural development".
"I had faced something which I had never experienced before and I was led to really consider my position in relation to art. In particular I was asking the questions such as "What is the real meaning of cultural development?""What kind of people do I want to live alongside with at this time?"I am engaged in art. If the people who surround me are also engaged in art and we don't share our values and awareness with each other then we can not form a meaningful development of cultural or people.
Building a moment of enjoyment in this town with the young people who carry its future
Takada became engaged in art because of her wish to change society and live with more enjoyment through the power of art. While facing the town destroyed by the tsunami with the thought "this is probably the end of Shiogama", this first inspiration towards art came back strongly.
"Art is not just about art work is it. I believe in people's strength, in their power of imagination and their spirit. So when facing the awful question "How can we go on living now?" I have come to hold to the idea that through art we can create a way to enjoy each moment. From now on while continuing with workshops we want to develop some interesting exhibitions at "Birdo Space" and go forward believing that some good will be born."
Takada has naturally come to think about the future of her town, Shiogama, as she called upon her network and distributed stationary to children, facilitated workshops, organized various events to inform people of the current situation of the affected areas after the disaster.
"Shiogama is a small town but it has a fishing port and the culture of Shiogama shrine. It is a town working towards the benefit of many people. After the earthquake those moments went we feel "Shiogama is a good town" really increased. I don't necessarily think I can contribute to the economic recovery of the town but from now I want to take the same strength and join in dialogue with its young people. If we do not harness the energy of young people now then we can not carry on. I want to gather the people who can harness this energy through Birdo Flugas and bring together young people, even from outside of Shiogama who can lend their energy to the town."
Interviewed on 30th June 2011 Shiogama City, Miyagi Prefecture
photo: Reiji OHE