★Left hand side exhibition space within the Ark Gallery
A Permanent Exhibition of History and Folk Culture called the “Ark Diary” focused on “food” as a keyword that has been supporting the area to make a comprehensive introduction of the dwindling folk culture, customs, history, and lifestyle cultures and pass them down to future generations in the area to help them understand its art and cultures.
Life on the Sanriku rias coastline is supported by rich ocean where the Kuroshio and Oyashio Currents meet and its adjacent mountains.
The natural environment is blessed by both the ocean and mountains as well as the calm inland bay. These are the greatest assets of this area. The wide area covering Kesennuma and Minamisanriku in the Sanriku coast has flourished with fisheries from old times thanks to the geography and climate.
As many of the shell mounds in the wide area suggests, this area has been blessed with “food” so much that it’s called a “repository of food” since the time of the Jomon period. Humans need food to live. Humans cannot settle in until food availability is secured on a continuing basis. The current culture created in the region couldn’t have existed without such a rich food environment. Therefore, we think the “food environment” needs to be focused to know the folk culture, customs, history and living in this wide area.
The fact that the primary sector industry supports the region explains that the region has “strong vitality” and is rich in the true sense. A rich food environment is the foundation of human living. With the security of the foundation, our culture can flourish and take root deep in the ground. We believe that this is the foundation of art and culture. Through art, we learn human history and culture. In turn, learning folk cultures, customs, history, and lifestyle culture helps us understand the significance of art on a deeper level. From this perspective, we offer this “Ark Diary” as a core exhibition along with the Permanent Art Exhibition.”
The permanent exhibition “Ark Diary” is described with illustrative panels depicting how the exhibited materials are actually used. The illustrations by our curators provide supplementary documentation of the story behind the materials that words and photos cannot describe.
The permanent exhibition, Ark Diary introduces life until around 1960 after the modernization of the area. The local elderly people say that their lifestyles changed drastically starting around 1960. The change coincides with the changes that Japan had experienced after the rapid economic growth policy. The history of the region tells us that many of the reclaimed sites that were devastated by the recent tsunami were developed during that period. It is our hope that this exhibition helps us think how lives before the town back in 2011 were formed after 1960’s, as a result of fading memories of repeated tsunami in the past, also what the livelihood of the community looked like, and how people had built up the relationship with the natural environment up to 1960’s.
★Right hand side exhibition space within the Ark Gallery
Since its inauguration in October 1994, the Rias Ark Museum of Art has managed many kinds of temporary exhibitions, with the intention of offering local residents opportunities to become familiarized with more diversified artistic expressions. There has been particular acknowledgment of those artists who reside in the Tohoku area or Hokkaido as well as those who have some connections with the Tohoku area. The previous styles of expressions featured here have varied widely and include: oil painting, watercolor, print, photography, sculpture, craft work, installations, and so on.
Our permanent exhibition consists of works that are either entrusted or donated by artists that the museum has featured in the past for temporary exhibitions, etc. Therefore, the majority of exhibited works here are from artists who reside in the Tohoku area or Hokkaido or who have some connections to the area.
All of the artists, who have exhibited their works here, had previously visited this area and forged new relationships. These new encounters and connections have become a precious cultural asset for the community. In order for the museum to continue developing further in the future, it has an important mission to maintain its role as a “massive ark” that accommodates new relationships, values and cultures that are fostered now and in the future. Our permanent exhibition program will continue to do this.