Initiated in 2018, the Chicago Obihiro Exchange Project is a program produced by Asian Improv aRts Midwest that facilitates an immersive exchange between Japanese-American artists in Chicago and artists from the Obihiro / Tokachi area in Japan.
As a resettlement city following the end of World War II, the identities of the longstanding Japanese American community in Chicago is inevitably rooted in the histories of internment. The artists of AIRMW however, are part of the community of post-war immigrants where identity is more inherently defined through the bicultural lineage of language and globalization in lieu of the often didactic exploration of the socio-political grievances of WWII. Within the arts, this experience manifests itself through the context of aesthetics. The pictorial diegesis of works is a presentation of culture through the particular sensibilities of Japanese aesthetics.
The exchange project was developed to expand this conversation of the importance of cultural aesthetics as part of maintaining the artistic integrity of this new generation of the Japanese & Japanese American artists. It also works to cultivate the international dialogue between Chicago and Japan, maintaining the global cultural perspective that is integral to the landscape of contemporary art.
The Chicago Obihiro Exchange Project is part of AIRMW’s Arts Initiative Exchange Program and is a collaboration with the Tokachi International Cultural Exchange Center in Obihiro, Japan.