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Event Report
No.050
A New Award for Mid-Career Artists in Japan Tokyo Contemporary Art Award 2019-2021 Award Ceremony and Commemorative Symposium

2019/7/17

The Tokyo Contemporary Art Award (TCAA) was established by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Tokyo Arts and Space (Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture) in 2018 as a new prize for contemporary art. The two winners of the first ever TCAA were decided in mid-March, and the Award Ceremony and Commemorative Symposium were held on April 21, 2019, at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo.

The winners of the 1st TCAA: Sachiko Kazama (front row, center, right), and Motoyuki Shitamichi (front row, center, left). *Tokyo Tokyo FESTIVAL is an initiative for the development of diverse cultural projects in the run-up to 2020 as the year of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, designed to disseminate Tokyo’s artistic and cultural appeal.
The winners of the 1st TCAA: Sachiko Kazama (front row, center, right), and Motoyuki Shitamichi (front row, center, left).
*Tokyo Tokyo FESTIVAL is an initiative for the development of diverse cultural projects in the run-up to 2020 as the year of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, designed to disseminate Tokyo’s artistic and cultural appeal.

About TCAA

TCAA was established as an award for mid-career artists active in Japan. A call for applications was issued in July and August of 2018, and seven artists were nominated from 136 applicants, including artists recommended by the International Selection Committee. The winners were determined through a process that included research on the nominated artists, studio visits, and interviews. The winners are awarded a cash prize of three million yen, as well as continuous support for a period of two year that includes support for overseas activities during the following year and an award exhibition to be held at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo on the third year.
The winners of the 1st TCAA are Sachiko Kazama, who creates mainly black woodblock prints filled with ominous dark clouds looming over the future and whose work is based on thorough research of the past, and Motoyuki Shitamichi, an artist whose creative activities are grounded in travel and fieldwork.

The contrast between the two winners

Sachiko Kazama says that she became more conscious of the Nazi in the process of creating Dyslympics 2680, a woodblock print that combines two themes: the National Eugenics Act promulgated in 1940 and the planned Tokyo Olympics, which never took place. The artist shared that she would like to use the TCAA support for overseas activities to visit various places from her base in Berlin.
Motoyuki Shitamichi’s Tsunami Stone is a video work inspired by the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. Over a period of five years, the artist filmed the giant boulders deposited on the shores of the Sakishima Islands in Okinawa by a tsunami some 250 years ago. His work is currently part of the exhibition in the Japanese Pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale that is held in Venice, Italy, from May 11 through November 24, 2019. According to Mr. Shitamichi, there are many mid-career artists who give up on their creative activities or get a job in other fields. Against this backdrop, his wish apparently is to go out into the world and fully immerse himself in creative work.

Dyslympics 2680 A woodblock print (solvent ink on washi paper), 2018 Photo: Kei Miyajima © KAZAMA Sachiko Courtesy of MUJIN-TO Production
Dyslympics 2680
A woodblock print (solvent ink on washi paper), 2018
Photo: Kei Miyajima
© KAZAMA Sachiko
Courtesy of MUJIN-TO Production
Motoyuki Shitamichi Floating Monuments Glass, mixed media, 2015-
Motoyuki Shitamichi
Floating Monuments
Glass, mixed media, 2015-
Governor of Tokyo Yuriko Koike (left) and Motoyuki Shitamichi (right) at the Award Ceremony
from the left, Yukie Kamiya, Fumihiko Sumitomo, Doryun Chong, Carol Yinghua Lu, Yuki Kondo As Yukie Kamiya pointed out, Japanese artists have internalized the experience of the disaster and are now pushing forward with the creative process of releasing this experience through their works, and under the current social climate, the time has come to see the first results of their work.

Left: Governor of Tokyo Yuriko Koike (left) and Motoyuki Shitamichi (right) at the Award Ceremony
Right: from the left, Yukie Kamiya, Fumihiko Sumitomo, Doryun Chong, Carol Yinghua Lu, Yuki Kondo As Yukie Kamiya pointed out, Japanese artists have internalized the experience of the disaster and are now pushing forward with the creative process of releasing this experience through their works, and under the current social climate, the time has come to see the first results of their work.

Ms. Kazama, immersed in materials and engaging in creative work at her home (right), and Mr. Shitamichi, carrying a backpack, on a journey in search of creative hints (center).
Ms. Kazama, immersed in materials and engaging in creative work at her home (right), and Mr. Shitamichi, carrying a backpack, on a journey in search of creative hints (center).

Text: Maki Aikawa
Photo: Shu Nakagawa

Tokyo Contemporary Art Award 2019-2021
Tokyo Contemporary Art Award 2019-2021
The International Selection Committee
Yukie Kamiya (Gallery Director, Japan Society, New York)
Fumihiko Sumitomo (Director of Arts Maebashi / Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Tokyo University of the Arts)
Doryun Chong (Deputy Director and Chief Curator, M+)
Maria Lind (Curator, Writer, and Educator)

Carol Yinghua Lu (Director, Beijing Inside-Out Art Museum)
Yuki Kondo (Program Director, Tokyo Arts and Space)
Organizers: Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Tokyo Arts and Space (Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture)

https://www.tokyocontemporaryartaward.jp/en/

The website features interviews with the award-winners. (Japanese and English only)
Sachiko Kazama
https://www.tokyocontemporaryartaward.jp/en/winners/winner01.html
Motoyuki Shitamichi
https://www.tokyocontemporaryartaward.jp/en/winners/winner02.html