U.S.-Japan Connection Travel 2016-17: Blog Reflection: Caitlin Strokosch

March 27, 2017  •  < 1 minute read

Blog Reflection: Caitlin Strokosch, President & CEO, NPN/VAN Our public round-table discussion at TPAM in February 2017 gave us an opportunity to engage face-to-face with artists, curators, and presenters from Japan to explore the role of the arts in addressing Japan’s most critical social issues. What we heard in response was frustration at the frequent disconnect between the arts world and the “real world” in Japan, and a resistance from many audiences and public funders toward artists who are engaging in controversial social or political topics. These topics include Japan’s aging population and the difficulties of the younger generation as caretakers, the Fukushima nuclear disaster, wealth disparity and hidden poverty, and the 3/11 earthquake in Tohoku. Our shared urgency to invest in risk-taking artists and their work, particularly in the face of increasing censorship in both the U.S. and Japan, gives greater focus to our U.S.-Japan Connection program, to ensure our limited resources are filling a critical need. It was a powerful introductory meeting, just the start of the deep relationship-building and learning our U.S. curators and I are embarking on. I left the convening inspired, imagining how we might support each other as colleagues through a shared commitment to freedom of expression and centering marginalized voices.