"Potato Art Hall" displays 1,000 Ukrainian children's drawings and paintings
The “Big Potato Art Hall” exhibit, held in the Red Brick Warehouse in the Eastern Hokkaido Tokachi region town of Memuro, displays artwork from children all over the world. It will open to the general public again this year, starting on July 16. The focal point of this year’s exhibit is the over one thousand drawings and paintings from Ukrainian children. The exhibit is being organized by sculptor Asano Osamu, who originally hails from Obihiro. He is working hard to prepare for the exhibit opening under the conviction that, “We simply have to do this now,” to deepen understanding towards Ukraine, which is being invaded by Russia.
The exhibit has been held every year since 2015 with cooperation from “NPO Tokachi-Memuro Red Brick Storehouse”. Through organizations such as the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), it has gathered artwork from children worldwide for over ten years, and stores over 100,000 pieces. This year it will display approximately 20,000 drawings, paintings, and craft pieces.
Among these works, the Ukrainian pieces number over 1,000, and were created before the Russian invasion. They show brightly colored motifs including buildings and animals. The exhibit also displays art objects patterned after potato shapes, and made out of scrap lumber from potato field windbreak forests. Wood from trees that protected the fields was used to symbolize a space that now protects the art of children.
Before the general public opening, female Ukrainian author and Japan scholar Olga Khomenko (currently residing in Poland) plans to visit the venue and assist with exhibit preparations. She will discuss the current state of Ukraine with exhibit personnel amidst the children’s artwork.
Asano expressed heartfelt pain and calls for the end of fighting, “There are many people in Russia and Ukraine who are relatives. Killing each other is senseless.” With the belief that being able to receive and store drawings and paintings created by children worldwide is a sign of peace, he commented, “I want to contribute to peace through this exhibit.”
The event will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. from July 16 to September 25. The space is closed on Mondays. No reservations are required, and entrance is free.
Tokachi-Memuro Red Brick Storehouse
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