ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cultural Exchange Exhibition
The 55th Anniversary of Founding of ASEAN and the 80th Anniversary of Founding of Sillapakorn University
ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cultural Exchange Exhibition
Period: April 5-9, 2022
Venue: ASEAN-Japan Centre, Tokyo
The Gaibun-Association held “ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cultural Exchange Exhibition” at the ASEAN-Japan Center to commemorate the 55th anniversary of ASEAN’s founding in 2022 and the 80th anniversary of the founding of Thai National Silapakorn University in 2023. The purpose of this exhibition is to provide children with an occasion for their education; that is, to promote their social and cultural sensitivity through the outstanding art on exhibit. Furthermore, the art exhibition would be an opportunity for all of Asia to pray together for the world peace and the early ending of COVID-19. The exhibition featured art works by Prof. Amrit Chuswan, Vice President of Thai National Silapakorn University and representative artist of the Venice Biennale and Thailand, and other Thai artists representing Silapakorn University, as well as those by selected Japanese artists.
We plan to organize an international exhibition in 2023 either at the Silapakorn University Art Center or the National Gallery of Thailand by the artists selected by Prof. Amrit Chuswan as the excellent works from this exhibition.
It will be an art exhibition in which the works of artists from the ASEAN region, including Thai artists, together with the works of contemporary Japanese artists, are displayed in one place. The exhibition of Japanese children’s works is also under consideration.
As fellow Asian citizens, we would like to demonstrate that art is indispensable for the realization of a peaceful and bright future, and we intend to continue to promote mutual understanding with ASEAN countries through art.
Saturday, April 9, 2022
Ceremony to award the certificate of recommendation for participation in the “ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cultural Exchange Exhibition”
Opening Remarks by Mr. Nobutoshi Akao, Senior Advisor, Geibun Association
I would like to express my sincere thanks to you all for taking time out of your busy schedule to attend today’s award ceremony, taking place in the midst of the seventh wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
I would also like to thank Mr. Hirabayashi, Secretary General of the ASEAN-Japan Centre, and all the staff members of the Centre for coming here today even though it’s Saturday. In addition, I would like to express my sincere gratitude for lending us this venue for our exhibition and today’s ceremony.
First of all, let me briefly explain the activities of the Geibun Association. The Association was founded in 2000 under the name of the Asia Art and Culture Exchange, and later renamed to the World Art and Culture Exchange. However, three years ago, it was further changed to “Geibun (Art and Culture) Association”.
The Association was originally established in Thailand in 2000. The Association has been acquainted with the members of the royal family of Thailand and has developed a close relationship with them. Finesse Co., Ltd. was established as a company to support this relationship as well as a supporting organization of the Association. The company publishes a quarterly magazine “bun-ten” and has been in business for 22 years. The Geibun Association and Finesse have been engaged in activities that promote mutual understanding with other countries and contribute to world peace by holding art exhibitions not only in Japan but also in various foreign countries. Whenever we hold art exhibitions overseas, we invite local children to participate in “Art Session” where they interact with participating artists from Japan for joint production of artworks, as a part of education to promote children’s social and cultural sensitivity.
This is the second time we have organized Cultural Exchange Exhibition at the ASEAN-Japan Centre.
In addition to Tokyo, we held an art exhibition to pray for, and support, recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 at Nikko Toshogu Shrine in 2013. At that time, the Chief Priest of the Shrine confided to us that it was a good opportunity for them to realize that they had been lacking in an artistic perspective in their annual events and activities. Since then, we have co-hosted art exhibitions and other forms of events with Toshogu Shrine almost every year in Nikko.
Overseas, we have been organizing art exhibitions and events in various countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Russia (St. Petersburg), Italy (Siena), Portugal, Lithuania and Hawaii.
Although our overseas activities have to be suspended for the past three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are preparing to resume our overseas activities, by holding an art exhibition at the University of Bologna, Italy, this fall, to begin with.
I would like to conclude my remarks by asking for your continued support and cooperation as we continue to promote our activities both in Japan and abroad. Thank you very much indeed for your time today.
Congratulatory address by Mr. Kunihiko Hirabayashi, Secretary General of the ASEAN-Japan Centre
Good morning. I would like to congratulate Mr. Akao, Senior Advisor, Mr. Munakata, Advisor, Oriental Art, and Mr. Ishikawa, Representative Director from General Incorporated Association Geibun Association, as well as all artists and all members for today’s ceremony. After everyone left last night, I turned on the light in the room and enjoyed an interaction with your every single piece of work on display.
Taking my time to look at the works, I felt that the art itself had value, and I was able to enjoy them while wondering what they were trying to tell us. If possible, I would like children to see the artworks as well. I have heard that there will be such an opportunity next year when the exhibition is held in Thailand. Next year, 2023, will mark the 50th anniversary year of ASEAN-Japan friendship and cooperation. After listening to Mr. Akao’s remarks and thinking about what we can do next year, I strongly felt that it would be possible to interact with children through art without language barriers. I would be very grateful if you could help us to contribute to peace for children in Japan and ASEAN countries through art, and I would like to express my sincere gratitude for choosing our Centre as venue for the exhibition.
I am glad that today was a fine day. It is depressing to see the recent news on TV, and I strongly believe that the origin of peace can be found in ASEAN-Japan friendship and cultural exchange through art, as each artist’s soul cries out and speaks to the audience in their works. We hope that you will continue these valuable activities for the sake of children and young people, and contribute to peace through art.
I would like to extend my congratulations to all of you today.
Remarks by Mr. Katsumoto Munakata, Advisor, Oriental Art, Geibun Association
I am Munakata, Advisor, Oriental Art, of the Geibun Association. Congratulations on your achievement today. When I saw my title, Advisor, Oriental Art, on my business card, I thought about my own backbone. Reacting against the fact that my parents’ family had been Christian for generations, I was drawn to Eastern thought, especially Laozi and Zhuangzi, in my late teens. In Eastern philosophy, there is a phrase called the “usefulness of the useless,” which means that something seemingly useless actually plays a very important role.
That is to say, eating and sleeping are of course necessary to live, but art, which is generally considered unnecessary, also has the importance of quenching the hunger of the heart. The world is in a difficult situation right now, but ideally, if each person’s heart is filled with abundance, conflict will disappear from this world.
Simply put, I believe that art is a different form of expression for each of us to nourish our hearts. Today, I fully enjoyed the opportunity to view each of the artists’ works and to freely converse with them in my heart.
Thus, the fact that all of you are here together is also a message of peace. It may be difficult to change the world right now, but I believe that the hardships you will face in creating our works will become fertilizer, which will lead to enrichment. I think it will lead to a sense of gratitude of what you have realized during the hardships and people you have encountered that helped you produce your work.
I don’t mean to be too personal, but I would like to thank you again for the opportunity to have been associated with all of you through your works. I would like to extend my congratulations to all of you today.
Remarks by Mr. Fumitaka Ishikawa, Representative Director, Geibun Association
My name is Ishikawa from the Geibun Association. I would like to say a few words.
I first met Mr. Akao, Senior Advisor, in Bangkok, Thailand. Later, he retired from the diplomatic service and became Secretary General of the ASEAN-Japan Centre.
When I met him again at the ASEAN-Japan Centre, I asked him to serve as Senior Advisor of our Association and he generously accepted our offer after his retirement from the Centre.
I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Mr. Munakata, Advisor, Oriental Art, and Mr. Hirabayashi, Secretary General, as well.
Also, I would like to thank all the artists for coming today.
As the Exhibitions Concluded
Just after the cherry blossoms season was over, “ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cultural Exchange Exhibition” was held at the ASEAN-Japan Centre, located in Minato-ku, Tokyo, for five days from April 5 (Tue) to April 9, 2022 (Sat), to commemorate the 55th anniversary of the establishment of ASEAN this year and the 80th anniversary of the founding of Silpakorn University of Thailand next year.
The weather around the ASEAN-Japan Centre was so warm that it seemed like early summer, and on April 9, the final day of the exhibition, 28 Japanese artists attended the ceremony to award the certificate of recommendation for participation in “ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cultural Exchange Exhibition,” which will be held in Thailand next year.
The exhibited works (106 in total) included 77 paintings, photographs and two-dimensional crafts, 20 hanging scrolls of calligraphy and ink painting, and 3 three-dimensional works of sculpture and crafts. The exhibition also featured 6 works by Prof. Amrit Chusuwan, Vice President of Silpakorn University, Thailand, an exhibiting artist at the International Art Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia, and a representative artist of Thailand, and other promising Silpakorn University faculty members. On April 9, the last day of the exhibition, Mr. Nobutoshi Akao, Senior Advisor, Geibun Association, Mr. Katsumoto Munakata, Advisor, Oriental Art of the Association, and Mr. Kunihiko Hirabayashi, Secretary General of ASEAN-Japan Centre joined us for the ceremony.
The restrictions on holding events and the use of facilities following the public announcement of the pre-emergency measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the three prefectures (Tokyo, Kyoto and Okinawa) were announced on the last day of the exhibition. However, under the guidance of the ASEAN-Japan Centre, the organizer took measures to keep social distance of visitors, provide temperature check and disinfectant near the entrance, and ensure that the number of visitors remained below 50 (actual number of visitors: 28) from the first day of the exhibition.
Thanks to your cooperation, the staff members of the Association are relieved to confirm that no one was infected with COVID-19 during and after the exhibition.
We would like to express our sincere gratitude to all the artists for coming to the exhibition, and we look forward to your continued cooperation in the future as we intend to continue our exchange not only between Japan and Thailand, but also with other ASEAN countries as well.
Fumitaka Ishikawa, Representative Director, Geibun Association