Kite Flying with Local People - Pedestrian Sundays at Kensington Market

Sun Jun 28, 2009 - 12:00 pm - Sat Jul 18, 2009 - 3:00 pm @
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Yoshinori Niwa - Kite Flying with Local People
Pedestrian Sundays at Kensington Market: Sunday, June 28, 12 - 3 p.m. (West of downtown Toronto, bordered by Spadina Avenue, Dundas Street, Bathurst Street and College Street)

Yoshinori Niwa is interested in exploring how people interact and does so by investigating activities that reveal cultural similarities, eradicate social barriers, and question what constitutes anticipated behavior in various circumstances. The very process of thinking about old things in new ways, and giving activities alternate structures, has the capacity to shed light on the key purpose of many cultural practices: to form emotional and intellectual bonds and to demonstrate unity.

Buddhist monks brought kites to Japan in approximately the 7th century, at which time their shapes began to take on forms representative of cranes, dragons, and/or fish in order to symbolize positive fortunes such as prosperity or fertility. Accordingly, kites were used frequently to avert evil spirits and to ensure bountiful rich harvests. Initially, only the samurai class was allowed to fly kites, but during the Edo government, citizens rejected the notion that it distracted them from their work, which made the activity more commonplace. Today, complex and beautiful kites are flown at any time, but are especially popular to enjoy on Children's Day (May 5) or during New Year celebrations as offerings of thanks for past successes.

Kite Flying with Local People seeks not only to invite participants to become involved in making and flying kites with the artist in proximity to the JCCC grounds, but it also invites them to invest each kite with a personal element such as their own used clothing, or other materials they choose to find and bring to the gallery. In the case of kites made out of found materials considered refuse (i.e. plastic shopping bags), Niwa encourages participants to think of the potential use in any object. This activity not only reminds individuals about the finite number of resources on the planet, but also encourages them to think creatively about how our resources are used to their maximum potential.

On the opening day of The Arts of Togetherness, Niwa will work with visitors to create kites and will, later that afternoon, fly them all at once in gesture that will be celebratory while, at the same time, presenting a visual impression of unity through the single presentation of many kites produced by many individuals.

Niwa will take video and still photography of these activities to document the kites, workshops, and his performance of the kites being flown. The footage will be edited and presented within the exhibition environment together with a selection of raw materials finished kites, and drawings.

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