huge rice straw creatures take over the wara art festival in japan

huge rice straw creatures take over the wara art festival in japan

giant sculptures made from rice straw

 

huge lions, eagles, crabs, spiders, other animals, and mythical creatures made of leftover straw from the seasonal harvest, invade the niigata landscape. the giant sculptures are part of the wara art festival — wara, means ‘rice straw’ in japanese — an event that takes place since 2008, and is a collaboration between tokyo art students and the local agricultural community.huge rice straw creatures take over the wara art festivalall images courtesy of wara art festival

 

 

modern usage of rice straw

 

the idea of regional revitalization by creating artwork made of rice straw was suggested by shingo miyajima — a professor at musabi of the time. rice straw is created as a byproduct of rice production and was utilized as feed livestock, fertilizer, and to craft items for the household since ancient times. due to lifestyle changes and the modernization of agriculture, this tradition is now presented in a modern way.

 

since 2008, every year musabi students are invited to brainstorm motifs and ideas for the artwork and they revive them in cooperation with local craftspeople and farmers. this way, the art festival acts as a fusion of fresh artistic sensibilities and traditional techniques, where diverse people, with different ages and backgrounds, take part in. 

 

huge rice straw creatures take over the wara art festival

 

 

transformed into lively artwork

 

toba-ami — utilized for processing rice straw for use in wara art — is one of the traditional techniques being lost.

this technique remains plain yet delicate work; although each piece of rice straw is thin and unwieldy, through weaving with strong patience and the designs by musabi students, it is transformed into lively artwork that almost seems alive.

 

due to the pandemic, the festival was paused during 2020 but is back now for its 13th edition with the theme ‘lucky things that bring vitality to those who see them,’ being on view on october 31st, inviting visitors to the local uwasekigata park.

 

huge rice straw creatures take over the wara art festival in japan
vivid artwork

huge rice straw creatures take over the wara art festival in japan

massive-sculptures-rice-straw-wara-art-festival-designboom-31800

huge rice straw creatures take over the wara art festival in japan
skeleton of the art piece

 

 

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rice straw is a traditional resource from nishikan
rice straw is a traditional resource from nishikan
very few people remaining who possess the toba weaving technique
very few people remaining who possess the toba weaving technique
huge rice straw creatures take over the wara art festival in japan
 
giant eagle
giant eagle
huge mythical creature
huge mythical creature

project info:

 

event: wara art festival

designed by: students by tokyo’s musashino art universit in collaboration with local farmers

location: uwasekigata park, niigata

on view: 31 october 

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