How Junya Utsumi creates space for identity and discussion

Happyplaces stories (video)

Junya Utsumi is the curator at the Koganecho Art Center/Koganecho Area Management Center, an NPO that uses art to revitalise the Yokohama City Naka Ward Koganecho urban area.

Once a notorious red-light district, the area has in the last couple of years undergone a rather astonishing transformation into an enclave of contemporary artists. Pivotal to its past and present identity is the presence of the Keikyu Railway’s overhead tracks, which provided shelter for the bars and brothels that sprang up here after the war and now pass above new art spaces. For Happyplaces Project Junya shared how he strives to hold and create space for art with its own Asian identity and how art fulfils a role to start a discussion about sensitive topics like gender and feminism.

nl/minato is an educational platform that aims to create a dialogue from social, political and cultural perspectives. In this programme, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Shibaura House, as well as various groups in the Minato-ku area, collaborate to organise events to make Minato-ku and its neighbouring area a stage for study, with citizen participation and lively discussions.

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