Famous for octopus, Shimotsui is located on the southernmost tip of Okayama prefecture.
A photogenic place where the dynamic Great Seto Bridge and a traditional fishermen’s village coexist, in the residential area of Shimotsui there is an art museum that’s currently getting a lot of attention.
Use the Banner to Search for the Namako Wall!
Named after this location, the No.1 spot to visit at the moment is the Fukiage Museum of Art! If you walk along the road facing the Seto Inland Sea, you’ll come across this banner.
I follow the sign, take a narrow side road, and then see a traditional Kurashiki Namako wall.
Introducing Artists Related to the Region
On the day of my visit, an exhibition by a young Okayama-born artist, Ms. Saki Sumida, was being held. You can see her epic works depicting the contrast of different things such as the Shimotsui townscape, high-rise buildings and English graffiti.
While staying in Shimotsui, Ms. Sumida creates her images and uses them in her pieces.
An Art Museum Where You Can Do More than Just Observe!
When I visited in March, the whole of the 1st floor was covered in textile art created by Ms. Satomi Kashio, an Okayama-based artist who is currently getting a lot of attention. The exhibition was set-up so that visitors could actually enter the works, which especially thrilled children. (This is my child laying down on one of the pieces)!
Fukiage Museum of Art consists of a vast 1st floor, and exhibition spaces wrapped in showcases on the 2nd floor. The idea behind the 1st floor concept is “being able to take an experience away with you”.
I visited again in June, and Ms. Kashio’s works had moved to the showcases on the 2nd floor. Unlike last time when I enjoyed interacting with her works, this time I was able to concentrate on the details of her style of expression. It’s so strange…
The Fukiage Museum of Art manager is Mr. Yasuyuki Katayama, an artist active mainly in Tokyo and Okayama. Since 2013 he has been working with his comrades on local art activities. After several meetings with local residents, in 2015, he started up the Fukiage Museum of Art in a building that had formerly housed an art museum.
Bringing Art Closer to the People
“I want to root in some new culture in the region and build value for art,” says Mr. Katayama. The special characteristic of the museum is its free management style. It has no directors, no overseers, and no curators. Mr. Katayama’s wish to go against the art-world hierarchy is visible not only in his selection of artists, but it also prevails within the entire space.
Fukiage Museum of Art offers art in an accessible at-home ambience. Come by for a visit and clear away the thresholds of your heart!
Fukiage Museum of Art
Location: 1-3-9 Fukiage, Shimotsui, Kurashiki city, Okayama prefecture
Closed: Sat & Sun
Entrance fees: Middle school students & older JPY500, Elementary school students & younger free admission
Parking: Please use the parking area by the harbor in Shimotsui (capacity 10 vehicles)
URL: http://www.fukiage.jp/ (Japanese with some English info.)
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Eri Hatano
Eri Hatano Born in 1978 in Miyazaki and currently living in Okayama, Eri used to work as a full-time newspaper journalist. She is now independent and writes for a number of publications across a variety of genres. As her husband's job requires him to regularly relocate to different regions of Japan, most recently from Ehime to Okayama, Eri has for the last several years enjoyed living in the Setouchi area. She says that Setouchi has a lot to offer particularly in terms of food and culture, which are both very well-established and can't be found anywhere else in Japan. Eri says that she will try to reflect her fascination with the Setouchi area with her words and pictures via Setouchi Finder.
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