Mori Art Museum’s Director appointed Curatorial Director of the new Honolulu Biennial.
The director of Tokyo’s Mori Art Museum (MAM) will curate the new biennial in Honolulu in 2016. The Biennial is part of an effort to include Hawaii in the global contemporary art scene.
A new art biennial
On 9 September 2014, the Honolulu Biennial Foundation (HBF) announced the appointment of Fumio Nanjo as the curatorial director of the Honolulu Biennial’s first edition in 2016. The Biennial will focus on art from countries around the Chain of Fire, including Oceania, Asia and the Americas. The Biennial
will highlight Honolulu as a fresh destination for international and national arts and cultural tourists, fostering a cultural awakening and positioning of Honolulu as central to the Pacific-wide growth of arts, technology, and commerce.
As reported by ArtAsiaPacific, Nanjo has expressed “great honour and joy” at the appointment, and has referred to the city of Honolulu as:
a compelling site for a new biennial with its strong ties to the Asia-Pacific regions.
HBF’s Co-founders and Directors Dr Kóan Jeff Baysa and Isabella Ellaheh Hughes have lauded Nanjo for his international curatorial achievements in the contemporary arts and his extensive interest and dedication to the Asia-Pacific region throughout his career.
Who is Fumio Nanjo?
Fumio Nanjo has been Director of the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo since 2006. Among his curatorial projects are the Asia-Pacific Triennial in Brisbane (2006), the artistic co-direction of the Yokohama Triennale (2001), artistic direction of the Singapore Biennale (2006) and the commissioning of the Japan Pavilion at the Venice Biennale (1997), where he was also a jury member for the Golden Lion Prize in 2005.
Nanjo is dedicated to educational programmes and public art through organising exhibitions and projects with his international art consultancy Nanjo and Associates, founded in 1990. He is also a lecturer and art critic at his alma mater, Keio University in Tokyo. In July 2014, he was appointed the Art Education International Director at the Hong Kong Arts Centre in conjunction with Hong Kong Art School.
Nanjo will participate in a variety of public programmes leading up to the Biennial, including lectures, conferences and symposia. In 2011, Nanjo already held a relevant lecture at the Honolulu Museum, demonstrating his interest in the island’s role in the global art scene. In the lecture entitled “Asia’s Hot Art Spots: What Is Hawai‘i’s Role?”, he spoke about the booming Asian art scene and discussed how artists from the region are rewriting history and what this means for artists, art historians and collectors outside Asia.
Honolulu on the global art stage
In an interview with Blouin ArtInfo, Dr Baysa said:
Hawaii is bountiful with creative talent. For varying reasons, the exposure of creative individuals from Hawaii on the global stage has remained minimal in scale. One of the primary goals of the Honolulu Biennial Foundation is to disrupt and upend the current situation.
In the press release (PDF download) announcing the prologue exhibition of the Biennial, Dr Baysa is quoted as saying:
We are interested in bringing artists from outside Hawai’i who rarely get exhibited here, as well as offering Hawai’i-based artists the opportunity to interface with a wider arts audience. The combination of the multifaceted, multicultural history, and the geopolitical locus as the true meeting point between the Asian continent, Oceania and the Americas, make for a truly rigorous site for artistic innovation and exploration. That is what we believe makes the Honolulu Biennial distinctive.
Chain of Fire
This autumn, from 30 October to 9 November 2014, the HBF in collaboration with the Hawai’i International Film Festival will present “Chain of Fire: The Prologue Exhibition for the 2016 Honolulu Biennial”, co-curated by Dr Baysa and Hughes.
The exhibition is a preview of what the Biennial will present in two years, and will feature the work of national and international artists of various origins. Artworks will be in a range of media, with a focus on new media, video, photography and multimedia installations. The roster includes:
- Paul Pfeiffer (Philippines/USA/Hawai’i)
- Shigeyuki Kihara (Samoa/New Zealand)
- Bahar Behbahani (Iran/USA)
- Arahmaiani (Indonesia)
- Almagul Menlibayeva (Kazakhstan)
- Adrienne Keahi Pao (Hawai’i/USA)
- Mark Salvatus (Philippines)
- Sama Alshaibi (Iraq/Palestine/USA)
There will also be a site-responsive installation by multimedia artist Hasan Elahi (Bangladesh/USA), Hawai’i’s Drew Broderick and the Pas de Chocolat collective.
C. A. Xuan Mai Ardia
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