28 Sep 2024 - 24 Nov 2024

Forest Festival of the Arts Okayama

Various venues


The Forest Festival of the Arts Okayama: Clear-skies Country will be an international art festival held in the northern half of Okayama Prefecture in the autumn of 2024.

From ancient times, the Izumo Road linking the provinces of Yamato to the east and Izumo to the west traversed this area, whose castle towns and post towns flourished in early modern times. The area consequently has a legacy of various traditional structures, crafts, and performing arts. Its land and forests yield an abundance of fruit, lumber, and other products.

Various efforts are being made to ensure the sustainability of its blessings. Of particular note is a project making effective use of forest resources in applications such as woody biomass power generation, which has been given high ratings as a progressive model for attainment of SDGs. In addition, the leisurely time and open space represented by the Hiruzen Highlands as well as the three Mimasaka spas, limestone caves, and other features which have not undergone excessive tourism development hold new possibilities in ecological thinking.

The title “Forest Festival of the Arts” was inspired by the forests in this area, which are full of elements that are of vital importance for our lives, including a moderate climate, ample supply of water and other resources, and foodstuffs. They likewise symbolize its diversity and richness as a place of natural bounty and culture, where people come together.

Taking the activation of this bounty born of forests into the future using the power of art as its objective, the festival will pose a question: “what kind of capital do we truly need?” Under an outlook regarding cultural facilities (such as art museums, memorial halls, and schools), life infrastructure (the supply of water, energy, and food), and the natural environment as components of the social common capital, the point is to create new capital through activities by not only artists but also experts (architects, scientists, and ethnologists), with the cooperation of local residents.

Besides reflecting diverse views, art generates empathy with them among viewers and nurtures powers of imagination toward new perspectives on the world and things. This makes people feel surprised, deeply moved, excited, and inspired, as well as the joy of being alive and the sense of fulfillment that comes from profound sensibility and thought. Infused with the energy of art, the ecological system of northern Okayama will be transformed into a topos that refreshes people’s hearts and minds. This festival of residents in the forested part of “clear-skies country” will celebrate this transformation.

Press release from Forest Festival of the Arts Okayama

Image: Tarek Atoui. The Wind Harvester at Thailand Biennale at Chiang Rai © Wanchai Phutthawarin

Okayama Prefecture, Japan