NO-MA ARCHIVE(ノマ アーカイヴ)

Online article
A Borderless Perspective -1

Yoshiko Hata

(Art Director of Borderless Art Museum NO-MA and picture book artist)

This text was contributed to Let’s Talk about NO-MA on the former NO-MA website (2005–2012). The manuscript was written in 2006. The professional titles mentioned are those during writing.

This gallery aims to be a new place of art where the expressive energies of people with and without disabilities interconnect through their works.
We do not need to express ourselves to stay alive. However, since the beginning of time, human beings have never given up the act of creating things and expressing themselves. Even if it is of no use or it is never seen by others, we can devote an enormous amount of energy to such activities.
There is the term “disabled person.” There is also the term “artist.”
The two have different positions in society and different systems to which they belong. However, if we go beyond this division and perceive both as “individuals who express themselves,” we will see that they have something in common. Interestingly enough, the various pleasures of human life, which are the key to enjoying art, become quite clearly visible in this way.
This perspective reveals a fun secret passage that allows various people to easily pass through the important but somewhat impersonal barrier of “welfare for the disabled.”
I have been involved in the world of welfare for people with disabilities for fifteen years while also working as a picture book artist. It has been five years since I launched my first borderless art exhibition titled Witnessing the Energy of 21st-Century Art with Tadashi Hattori (curator of the Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art and NO-MA steering committee member) and some other friends in Tokyo and Yokohama in 2001.
During that time, the exhibition Japan Year Zero curated by Noi Sawaragi (art critic) and held at Art Tower Mito in 2000 offered me numerous suggestions for understanding art. In the summer of 2006, Art Tower Mito held a borderless exhibition by young curators entitled Life, which included works by five disabled artists. In 2005, the National Museum of Ethnology in Osaka also held a borderless exhibition called More Excited than Yesterday, with the theme of bricolage, and exhibited the works of eight disabled artists. I was involved in the planning of these exhibitions, but it was the staff of the museums who came up with the idea.
This may be a natural direction for an art scene that has become so diverse that it is losing its vitality.
From this perspective, I believe that the number of borderless exhibitions that transcend the framework of outsiders and insiders will gradually increase in the future.
I hope that NO-MA will continue to hold interesting exhibitions to lead the way in this direction.

Source: Former NO-MA website (2005-2012) Let’s talk about NO-MA (published on January 18, 2006)

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