Production Zomia（Central Ishinomaki Area）
Aug 20 - Oct 02, 2022
Mainly held in Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture, Reborn-Art Festival is a comprehensive festival of art, music, and food. Based on the concept of “Reborn-Art” as a means of living, it started in 2017 in the area devasted by the Great East Japan Earthquake.
Marking the tenth anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake, the third edition of the festival is held over two separate periods in consideration of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Under the theme of “Altruism and Fluidity,” Reborn-Art Festival is organized in two terms in, respectively, summer 2021 and summer 2022.
At a time when the globe is once again assailed by new uncertainties caused by a disastrous war, we aspire to present a vision of a new world never seen before through sharing a wide range of artistic expression.
This exhibition introduces six Asian artists from the collection of Aura Contemporary Art Foundation, all of whom explore the relationship between nature and society in Zomia culture. Zomia and the Oshika Peninsula have common geographical conditions, both being surrounded by the sea and mountains. These natural features have nurtured a bountiful philosophy and spirituality related to the natural environment. Crossing the boundaries between nature and culture, life and death, nation and Zomia, the exhibition raises the question of how people can coexist in a world without rulers through anarchistic thought.
Curation: Production Zomia
Venue: Central Ishinomaki Area
Formed in 2021 as a network of artists, curators, and other arts professionals in Asia.
Recent activities include organizing ”Trans-local Migrants on the Water - Contemporary Art from the Mekong Region" (2021, Semba Excel Building, Osaka).
The term "Zomia" refers to the mountainous regions of mainland Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar) and southern after the Tibetan and Myanmarese word "Zomi" (highlander).
ZomiaThey isare characterized by dispersion/migration and oral traditions, escaping any form of state control such as taxation, military service, slavery, etc. They are also a people who believe in animism and live in an egalitarian society.
There is a theory that some of the people of the Zomia were driven from the plains and migrated to mountainous areas, while others fled to the sea or rivers and continued to migrate through the "Zomia on the Water".
Apichatpong was born in 1970 and grew up in Khon Kaen in north- eastern Thailand. He began making film and video shorts in 1994, and completed his first feature in 2000. His art projects and feature films have won him widespread recognition and numerous festival prizes, including four prizes from the Cannes Film Festival. His film, “Syndromes and a Century”, completed in late 2006, was the first Thai film to be selected for competition at the Venice Film Festival. In 2010, “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives” won a Palme d’Or, Cannes Film Festival. In 2021, "Memoria" was screened in the competition section of the 74th Cannes Film Festival and won the Jury Prize.
He has also mounted exhibitions and installations in many countries since 1998. Often non-linear, with a strong sense of dislocation, his works deal with memory, subtly addressed personal politics and social issues.
In 2005 he was presented with one of Thailandʼs most prestigious awards, Silpatorn, by the Thai Ministry of Culture. In 2008, the French Minister of Culture bestowed on him the medal of Chevalier de l'ordre des arts et des letter (Knight of the Order of Arts and Literature). In 2011, he was given another honor for the same field with an Officer Medal, and later in 2017, Commandeurs medal.
Art work: The Light of Longing
During the Covid-19 pandemic last year, Apichatpong Weerasethakul revisited Nong Khai, Northeastern Thailand, where he shot several of his early films. There, he observed local people whose lives had completely changed as a result of upstream dams, while the landscape and flow of the river evoked his past memories of the area.
This photograph captures the scenery of decay of people’s memories and the sense of dying places. In addition, he constructed the photographs upside down to show the potential wrongdoing led by logic and common sense in human society, or to depict the destruction of the natural environment.
The Light of Longing, 2021
Irwan Ahmett & Tita Salina
Working together since 2010, Irwan Ahmett (b.1975) and Tita Salina (b.1973) are an artist duo from Jakarta, Indonesia.Their tactical, interventionist approach is developed in response to living in a megacity of 15 million people, and amid large-scale contemporary political power struggles.Their work intervenes in public spaces and makes sharp social criticisms on issues of urban development, ecosystem issues, political oppression, plantation heritage, and exploitation of ecosystem resources.
Their recent exhibitions are Bangkok Art Biennale, Bangkok, Thailand (2020), NTU Centre of Contemporary Art Singapore (2019), Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw, Poland (2017).
Art work: Harvest from Atlantis
In the Jakarta Bay, rivers flowing from the mountains carry nutrients from the forests and create an abundant ocean environment. Green Mussels, farmed by local fishermen in the bay, are an important source of income for them, since the mussels, crucially for low-income earners, can be sold as a cheaper source of protein than regular meat. However, pollution from household waste and heavy metal waste has severely damaged the sea as well as the livelihoods of the fishermen. Furthermore, the operation of large-scale land privatization has disrupted their livelihoods.
The title is taken from the 'Lost City of Atlantis', a mythical maritime nation. Atlantis, as posited by Plato, is believed to have sunk in Jakarta Bay. The city of Jakarta, with over 10 million inhabitants, is slowly sinking due to subsidence and rising sea levels. Irwan and Tita worked with the fishermen to set up pieces of wood in the sea and wait for Green Mussels to grow. The image of the Green Mussels growing, with their lush green color reminding us of the subtropical trees undergoing deforestation, could be a symbol of hope and concern for the sea's future.
Irwan Ahmett & Tita Salina
Harvest from Atlantis, 2019
Aung Myat Htay
Aung Myat Htay (b.1973, Mandalay, Myanmar) is an artist and independent curator. He has been practicing bronze sculpture assisted his father since he was young.
Start art education at the state-run Fine Art school and, graduated in BFA at the University of Art & Culture in Yangon. Research and further learning by international residencies in the US, Europe, and Asia.Working as an art lecturer and he explores the potential in freedom of expression found in contemporary art. He expresses social messages with combines a contemporary senses in traditional forms. He is a founder of SOCA alternative art learning program and also known as writer and curator in Myanmar art community. His recent Solo exhibitions are “Consciousness of Realities”(2019, Myanm/art Gallery Space, Yangon, Myanmar), “Dining-Room Opera”(2014, Rooster Gallery, New York, NY), “Calling Memory,”(2012, Koganecho Bazaar Art Festival, Yokohama, Japan).
Art work: A Land of Ghosts
This work features people and animals from stories that have been handed down in the Buddhist sphere of Southeast Asia, as well as anonymous people found by the artist in the photo archive. Against the backdrop of the rich forests and seas that nurture many lives, they quietly emerge and fade away. One image is intricately linked to another, like the idea of reincarnation that spreads in areas where people of many different races, cultures, languages, and religions compete.
Over the course of time, there is no differentiation, as everyone is born and dies, regardless of race and species. However, some people expose their deep greed even when they become ghosts. Myatte's cyclical worldview criticizes egoism that tries to dominate animals, plants, insects, minerals, or people who have been displaced or deprived of their civil rights.
Aung Myat Htay
A Land of Ghosts, 2019
Ting Tong Chang
Ting Tong Chang (b.1982, Taipei, Taiwan) is an artist who lives and works in Taipei and London. Chang is known for his collaborative projects through a variety of media including installation, video, and theatre. After receiving his MFA at Goldsmiths, University of London in 2011, Chang has exhibited internationally. He held solo exhibitions at the Cube Project Space, the Museum of NTUE and Taipei Fine Arts Museum and has participated in group shows and commissioned projects in Guangzhou Triennial, Taipei Biennial, Saatchi Gallery, Compton Verney Art Gallery and Wellcome Trust. Chang’s major awards include the 19th Taishin Arts Award, Taipei Art Award 2020, Hong Kong Art Central RISE Award 2016, VIA Arts Prize 2016, and Royal Society of Sculptors Bursary Award 2015. His works can be found in the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Art Bank, Hong Foundation, Embassy of Brazil London, JM SR Collection Mexico and private collections in Europe and Asia.
Art work: Betelnut Tree, Bird's-Nest Fern and African Snails
Chang, along with Taiwanese indigenous hunters of the Amis tribe, spent two weeks building a dwelling space using locally sourced materials.
The Betelnut Tree, whose nuts have energy boosting effects, was imported by the Dutch during the Formosa period, but its consumption was banned during the Japanese occupation era. However, as industrialization progressed it became popular among the working class. Bird’s Nest fern, which used to be consumed by indigenous tribes as food and medicine, became an expensive product for health-conscious people and horticulture fans. In addition, African snails, which were introduced from Singapore as a substitute for meat under the ruling Japanese government’s policy, were regarded by the Han Chinese as a pest of Bird’s Nest fern.
Through his work, Chang recaptures the history created by these human activities, exploring the mutual connections between these organisms. It also seems to highlight the finiteness of human activity among the infiniteness of the natural world created by living creatures like these.
Ting Tong Chang
Betelnut Tree, Bird's-Nest Fern and African Snails, 2020
Mech Choulay & Mech Sereyrath
Mech Choulay and Mech Sreyrath are sisters who work together. They were both born in the 1990s, so they are the next generation of Cambodian contemporary artists and graduate of Sa Sa Art Projects.
Mech Choulay (Right): Born in Kandal province, Cambodia in 1992 . Based in Phnom Penh, she is active as an artist, documentary filmmaker, and freelance journalist.
Mech Sreyrath (Left): Born in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in 1993 . She received her Bachelor degree in Media Management from the Department of Media and Communications at the Royal University of Phnom Penh in 2018. In 2017, one of her photos was awarded second place in the Cultural Visa Photo competition, which was then exhibited in New York Gallery.
Their recent exhibitions are “TheMekong is blue and dried”(2021, Sea Junction, BACC, Bangkok), “Elements”(2020, Sa Sa Art Projects, Phnom Penh).
Art works: Animal Hand, Dead Wood
Choulay and Sereyrath traveled to Anlong Veng in north-west Cambodia several times to create this artwork while learning about the history and forest conservation work of the local community. There, they spent time in a monastic forest community operated by monks and villagers, where religious practices in forest conservation influenced their work.
A dead tree laying in a foggy forest is like a phantom that seems to be merely a single log. However, when it is viewed as a part of forest, it feels alive, playing an important role in the cycle of life. This sense of a life cycle that appears and disappears, and sometimes changes shape, is as elusive as the unknown creatures hidden deep in the forest. It seems to show a way of the world that can be felt only by accepting the existence of the unknown rather than by trying to understand.
Mech Choulay & Mech Sereyrath
Animal Hand, 2020
Montika Kham-on (1999, Samutprakarn, Thailand) Montika Kham-on is a filmmaker.
She explores the potentials of moving images, and the possibilities of film technologies to examine the past and manifest multiple futures.
Kham-on is also interested in fields that work with the body, from theater to dance. She strives to incorporate said fields with moving images to grapple with what is beyond the boundaries of language. Her recent exhibitions are “Crypto for Cryptids”(2021, Bangkok, Thailand), “Talk-Talk-Vilion”(2021, part of the Bangkok Biennial, Bangkok, Thailand).
Art works: Siamese Futurism, Siamese Futurism's video essay, Prophecy
The film is a music video that attempts to tell a new story and create a new narrative about the historical insurrection against the central government (The Holy Man's Rebellion) that took place between 1901 and 1936 in the Isan region, Thailand. The story starts with Montika's mother asleep. In her dream, Montika imagines an Isan region that has regained its autonomy from the central government. In another image, Montika’s vision reminds us of the nations and cultures that disappeared after conflict and assimilation, and the people buried in the shadow of the history of the winners. The work raises questions about a universal view of history and a resistance to oblivion.
Siamese Futurism, 2021