The Sapporo Tenjinyama Art Studio Open Call exhibition program received 202 applicants this year, which prompted an extremely difficult process for me to choose only one artist. First of all, 30 finalists were selected by looking through all the art works, motives and project proposals of applicants. And those finalists are, honestly, all at amazingly high levels so that anyone could be the selected one.
Shunsuke Nishimatsu was the selected artist because of his unique proposal plan for Tenjinyama Art Studio. I sensed his dynamic, young sensibility which let me imagine the possibilities of his freely expanding the project plan and changing the plan to a completely new one during the residency period.
Beside, his works left me with the impression of his pure interest in this world and in the future, leaving me also with a bright hope. I eagerly anticipate seeing his finalized works at the end of residency in February.
Application to the community program in the Sapporo Tenjinyama Art Studio Open Call required a proposal for the “Artist-in-School (AIS)” program, in which artists pretend to be “transfer students” and can make use of empty classrooms as working studios in operational public elementary schools for a period of time. In addition, artists engage with the school community through their activities, including school children, teachers, parents as well as local people. In 2003, AIS was initiated by Mama Odai, the program director of Tenjinyama Art Studio, and subsequently 74 programs took place in schools all over Japan, mainly in Hokkaido (40 programs in Sapporo City). This process-based, serial project is truly significant because society constantly desires concrete results. Here, I imagine an extraordinarily sustained passion in an AIS organizer.
Personally, I transferred 4 times during Elementary School and Junior High School. I remember every new school imposed on me “compromise” and “cooperation” to survive as a child in school. In this context, sometimes art practice brings children a chance to imagine a new way that disagrees with compromise and cooperation.
The selection was based on the following qualities in the artists: 1, a positive attitude about exchange with school and society, 2, careful research about the winter environment, 3, flexible and unpredictable plan and 4, new artistic character for the AIS program.
Taking all the above into consideration, Mica Cablido was selected from 54 applicants. Her proposal and works left me with a positive impression. I am sure that she will create a new image of the AIS program with her way of working and thinking with society and the winter environment.
Since the year 2014, the 4th year of The Sapporo Tenjinyama Art Studio Open Call selected 2 artists from a total of 256 artists; 202 applications for the exhibition program and 54 applications for the community program. The selections were made by three jury members who examined all the application forms, then selected finalists based on artists’ works and their project proposals for Tenjinyama Artist-in-Residence program. From the finalists, the jury discussed and selected each artist for both programs according to the contents and possibilities of realization of the proposal, as they matched the criteria of the Tenjinyama Artist Studio.
Every year, the location of applicants and the place of origin are decentralized all over the continents of the earth, which convinces me that this program is more and more recognized internationally. From all the applications this year, I noticed many high level artists including emerging, mid-career and established. As a jury, it is a huge responsibility to select only two artists, however, when I think of the selection process as participating in the life of every single artist, then the pressure turns into a challenge with critical view and warmth. I am looking forward to see the progress of selected artists over a long period of time, and how they develop and grow in the future after experiencing the Tenjinyama Artist-in-Residence program.