Snow Upopo (2002)

Upopo is sung as an introduction for Ainu festivals and its form is like a troll.
Mr. Iwai stayed in Obihiro for about one month since the end of January 2002,and asked over one hundred people about the images of snow.
These instruments of sounds have been arranged and played as today's Upopo.
Mr. Iwai has established his work "Between the Ears", in the Tokachi Pond in Midorigaoka park.

Between the Ears (2002)

These are traditional stories which among the Ainu people. Some of the stories are about Kamuy yukar and Uepeker. The animal itself is God(Kamui) and it talks about its own experiences.
It sits on one's corps, between the ears, and looks back on one's past.
This piece of art allows one to listen about stories of Ainu people.

Born in Tokyo in 1962
Lives in Tokyo

His interest in urban life, where "random encounters with strangers" constantly occur, has led him to collect and accumulate noise, language, fashion, as well as other elements of life in general, and try to create artworks based on their relations. In recent years, he has been focusing on "multi-cultural phenomena" seen in metropolises around the world and has become internationally acclaimed.

2000 Havana Biennale (Havana, Cuba)
1999 The 3rd Asia Pacific Triennnale (Brisbane, Australia)
1999 The 1st Fukuoka Asian Art Triennnale (Fukuoka, Japan)
1998 Solo Exhibition "Dialogue" (P3 art and environment; Tokyo)

January 2002 - February 2002
Starting from January 15, 2002, Shigeaki Iwai visited Obihiro for a month. He conducted interviews for the project entitled "Yuki no Upopo," with more than a hundred Tokachi people attending. The interviewees enthused over the experience, with such comments as "I sensed snow again in a new way," and "I thought of snow for the first time in my life." The local people had a new sense of surprise and discovery. This project truly involved the people. The work will be exhibited in a stable in the racehorse track during the exhibition period. As you might imagine, Tokachi people are already excited about the work: "I can't wait to see how it is made into an artwork." Iwai, who gained weight on Tokachi food, as written in our newsletter, is asking for information on good, cheap restaurants to be included on the Demeter Website. Based on the information on the bulletin board, he is looking for a good hidden restaurant in Obihiro. He likes the type of little bars found underneath train rails and has a definite opinion on the balance of price and taste. A soba shop owner really liked Iwai and treated him, "Eat this, eat that," every time Iwai visited the restaurant. An Iwai fan (a woman) said, "he is such a down-to-earth artist, and cool!" She wants Iwai to "depict Tokachi in a nice way."


September 2001
Shigeaki Iwai recently came back from Kellerberrin, Australia where he was on an artist-in-residence program. Kellerberrin is a little town with a population of about one thousand, located about a hundred seventy kilometres east of Perth. We thought there would be a cultural gap between his previous experience and Obihiro, but he said to us, " one third of the population in Kellerberrin are aboriginals and they know about Ainu people very well." Recent interests of Iwai are focused on the issues of communities, such as multi-cultures, and the relationship between native people and newcomers. Obihiro, which has a history of immigration and long traditional culture, embodies the very qualities that interest Iwai. Iwai has been busy listening to Ainu people and visiting Oozora-cho (a planned community). He said that he wants to stay in Obihiro for one month a year. But, he gained two kilograms during his two-day stay, so what would happen to him if he stayed for a whole month? That is a worry.