It would be remiss to visit Tokyo without perusing its stellar collection of traditional Japanese art – from Utamaro’s alabaster ladies to Hokusai’s imposing waves – however, this summer, the Nippon capital is being treated to a rather more contempo spectacle. The most hotly anticipated exhibition of the year, Sunshower will showcase the largest collection of Southeast Asian art ever to grace the city.
Among the thought-provoking works by 86 established talents (pouring in from Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, Singapore, The Philippines, Malaysia, Laos, Indonesia, Cambodia and Brunei) are famed photomedia creator and film producer Yee I-Lann, performance artist Lee Wen and Venice Biennale 2011 rep Jompet Kuswidananto. And what better occasion to celebrate the region's prosperity, both in the economic and art stakes, than the 50th anniversary of the establishment of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations)?
Works will be exhibited across nine distinct categories, exploring themes spanning diverse cultural identities to revolution, spirituality and daily life via a series of large-scale installations, interactive artworks, painting, sculpture, and more, dating back to the 1980s.
Ones to watch out for include Felix Bacolor’s Stormy Weather, brought to life via more than 1,000 colourful wind chimes suspended from the ceiling; Liew Kung Yu’s whopping, eye-popping collage City of Towering Columns, musing on Malaysia’s urban density; and Navin Rawanchaikul’s A Tale of Two Homes, a real-life replica of his father’s fabric shop at Warorot Market, Chiang Mai, inside which you’ll spot a series of intricate paintings of his family and other shopkeepers from the market.
If that weren’t enough, taking place alongside the various exhibits are a series of fascinating cultural programs including talks by artists and gallery curators, as well as dedicated sessions for kids of all ages, seniors, families, teachers, and the visually or hearing impaired.
Housing this incredible showcase are two of Roppongi’s most prolific cultural hotspots, located within walking distance of one another. Begin your gallery gander at dramatic, contempo space Mori Art Museum (repping sky-high resto The Moon plus an observation deck with stagger city vistas), then hotfoot it over to the star-chitectural National Art Center to view the remaining works.
Once you’ve ticked off the must-sees, reflect over lunch at onsite brasserie Paul Bocuse, serving terrific value plates, then finish with a spot of retail at the nifty gift shop, stacked with the best in Japanese design. Book tickets in advance or buy the Museum Link pass to avoid queues.
Until 23 Oct, 2017.
Sunshower / sunshower2017.jp
Mori Art Museum / 53F / Roppongi Hills Mori Tower / 6-10-1 Roppongi / Minato-ku / +81 3 5777 8600 / 10am-10pm Wed-Mon, 10am-5pm Tue / mori.art.museum
National Art Center / 7-22-2 Roppongi / Minato-ku / 10am-6pm Sun-Mon & Wed-Thu, 10am-9pm Fri-Sat / nact.jp