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Nishikan Ward and Wara Art at the Japanese Farmland in the Annual Wara Art Festival

Nishikan Ward and Wara Art at the Japanese Farmland in the Annual Wara Art Festival.

In Niigata, one of Japan’s top locations for rice, rice straw is created as a byproduct of rice production. In the past, rice straw was used to make traditional tools utilized in Japanese daily life. However, that form of use is now dying out. As a new way of using rice straw, in 2006 Niigata City and Musashino Art University (known as “Musabi” in Japan) collaborated to create “Wara Art,” massive artwork made of rice straw. In 2008, the Wara Art Festival began as an event to exhibit Wara Art.

Rice straw is a symbol of the rice that supports the lives of Japanese people. Through collaboration between Musabi students and Niigata City residents to create artwork made with rice straw and exhibit this as an event, modern usage of rice straw is presented and regional revitalization and people-to-people exchanges are promoted.

This year’s motley cast includes insects, animals,  all on view through October 31.  (via  Wara Art Festival ) All images courtesy of Wara Art Festival