November 12, 12 | Chiaki Uzurahashi

"Kyodai Jyagaimo Art -KJA-" (Giant Potato Art) - Tokachi, Hokkaido

Creating a global food message in a red brick warehouse.
 
This red brick warehouse was originally constructed to help the local agricultural industry store and ship their food, although now, inside this building, the "skeleton" of a giant potato is under construction.
 
▲ The warehouse, built in 1980, is located near the Memuro JR station.
 
"Kyodai Jyagaimo Art -KJA-" is sponsored by the non-profit organization "Red Brick Warehouse Memuro, Tokachi." I got the full story of the giant potato from contemporary artist, and organization representative, Osamu Asano. Mr. Asano was born in Obihiro, Hokkaido, and currently lives in Kamakura, in Kanagawa Prefecture.
 
"Food is the source of all life.  The potato is what fed those people who helped in the reclamation of Hokkaido, making it seem to me like the starting point of Hokkaido's food culture. Tokachi is a major production area in Hokkaido and our biggest crop is the potato. Some places in the world, however, don't produce enough food, meaning that many children go hungry. I wanted to make this giant potato, a work of art that  contained my wish of supplying the world with food. I wanted to make this a place that would allow visitors to think about that problem."
 
▲ Mr. Asano brings out the beauty of agricultural life with his conceptual works of art. "There are many different farmers creating unique beautiful fields here in the Tokachi farmland. I'm highlighting the sustenance created here."
 
Currently two giant potatoes are being made. Once completed, the works will be scaled up to six and nine meter potatoes. Inside each potato, smaller works from across Japan made under the theme "food" will be displayed. The works are scheduled to be open to the public in the summer of 2015.
 
▲ Inside the potato will be a gallery featuring works exhibited by country and region.
 
▲ Parts of the potato "skeleton." Scrap wood from Tokachi is being used as the base material.
 
The smaller works, including pictures or small sculptures, are all made from scrap material. The goal is to collect 1,000,000 such works for the exhibit. Mr. Asano has put together several events to collect these works, and he says "Currently the project is spreading all across Japan."
 
 
▲ Some of the small works collected. Including different types of food drawn on small planks.
 
▲ "I'm also receiving works created with old newspaper."
 
For those interested in learning more about the sculptures, or who want to contribute to the project, check the "Red Brick Warehouse Memuro, Takachi" homepage below. To find out where you can send your work please email the organization at the address below.
 
※ The permanent exhibition is free of charge. For those interested in contributing to the work, we suggest you send your creations in groups to lower the shipping costs.
 
 ● NPO 十勝めむろ赤レンガ倉庫 (Red Brick Warehouse Memuro, Tokachi)
Contact Information: asano-osamu@mtd.biglobe.ne.jp
  •  "Kyodai Jyagaimo Art -KJA-" (Giant Potato Art) - Tokachi, Hokkaido
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