I have been following this project for a while now, and couldn't resist to share this with you. The project is about the history of the trade between Japan and The Netherlands. On Kyushu island the Netherlands and Japan first met. Here began a century long relation based on inspiration. A creative discovery journey that lasts until today, with the eye on the future.
In 1600 the Dutch set their first foot on Japanese soil. It was on the shores of Kyushu, the second largest island of Japan, the Dutch and Japanese people first made contact. Four hundred years later we can safely say that this moment marked the beginning of a successful exchange of inspiration and innovation.
In 2016, it will be four hundred years ago that an exceptional type of white clay was discovered in the mountains around the city of Arita. That clay became the raw material for the famous Arita porcelain. The porcelain acquired world fame when Dutch merchants began exporting it from their trading post on Dejima during course of the 17th century. The refined pottery, or ‘Imari porcelain’, as it is known in Europe, was of an extremely high quality and very much in demand. Moreover, it inspired the Dutch to develop a tradition of porcelain all their own.
Holland and Japan share a long and rich history. Kyushu plays a key role in the century long interaction between two cultures. The island was the starting point of a cultural and economic expedition that lasts until today. In 2016 and 2017 the Netherlands celebrates the special and historic ties through the cultural cooperation programme Holland&Kyushu. With the programme Holland & Kyushu DutchCulture aims to strengthen and highlight the ties between the Netherlands and Kyushu on cultural, economic and other levels. One of the projects of the Holland&Kyushu program is Arita/ 2016.
Sixteen internationally renowned ceramic designers are working as artists-in-residence in the porcelain workshops of Arita to develop a new product line. They are immersing themselves in the rich tradition of the Japanese porcelain industry and enriching that craft with new designs and the very latest techniques. The results will be presented in 2016. First in April, at the annual design fair in Milan. Then in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, as a supplement to its existing collection of classical Japanese porcelain. In April I will show you the exhibition in the Rijksmuseum and share more about the designers around this time.