Kamagasaki University of the Arts
© Toshiya Asami.jpg
The Decade: We do not graduate.
Kamagasaki refers to a part of Nishinari Ward in Osaka City, but the name is not on any map. Kamagasaki may mean a situation in our life where we have nowhere to stay, and where we feel like we are all alone. When there is a place and opportunity to express oneself, a variety of interesting things can happen. This is when weakness turns to strength. People who have loneliness as an ally have survived the Corona disaster tenaciously. We are going to try to recreate Kamagasaki's "place of encounter and expression" in Semba, Osaka. However, we are not able to exhibit the Kamagasaki people. We will be carrying the pictures, objects, and words that the Kamagasaki people and travelers have expressed in cardboard boxes. By the way, we are currently working on a community composting project, and we will be setting up a worm compost of 500 striped worms at the venue. The "Honma ni Book Cafe," located in a corner of Cocoroom, is a book cafe where anyone can be a manager and choose a book for a customer to give. There is also grants economy working in the form of "pay-it-forward" tickets there. If you are lucky, you can find a person making special coffee for you in the Book Cafe, too. In addition, the "Guest House, Cafe and Garden Cocoroom" in Kamagasaki will be renamed "Kamagasaki University of the Arts" this coming spring.
KAMAGEI run by NPO “The Room for Voice, Words, and Hearts” was established in Kamagasaki, Nishinari-ku, Osaka City in 2012. KAMAGEI has expanded in various venues in the community as a gradual project by seeing the whole town as a university where people willing to learn from each other are there. Currently KAMAGEI holds about 100 lectures per year on topics such as astronomy, aesthetics, and choral music. In recent years, due to the aging population of Kamagasaki, KAMAGEI has been playing a role as "the place of encounter and expression" while focusing on memorization and documentation. KAMAGEI holds lectures at nearby high schools and junior high schools, and it gives some lectures in collaboration with Osaka University as well. In 2019, with the help of Mr.Hasuoka, who has dug wells at Peshawar-kai, KAMAGEI dug a well by shoveling with 700 people including children, travelers, and refugees, taught by former day laborers in Kamagasaki. Under Covid-19 pandemic, KAMAGEI has been steadily carrying out its activities live and online based at Cocoroom.
Exhibitions & Performances: Yokohama Triennale 2014, Kamagasaki O! Pera (2014-2021), Arts Maebashi "The Forest of Expression" (2016), The Bird Theatre Festival (2016), Makoto Ooka Museum of Art "KAMAGEI has come! (2017), Rumbini Art Museum "It's a great town, here: Days of Kamagasaki University of the Arts" (2018), Saitama International Art Festival (2019), etc.