In November 2015, the thirtieth anniversary of the FAE took place at the Nagoya International Center (NIC), thus it is fair to say that FAE 31 represents the beginning of our 4th decade. Not bad, considering the first Foreign Artists Exhibition, held way back in 1986 was initially considered as a one-off event to coincide with NIC’s (and Nagoya City’s) push for “Internationalization”.
But the popularity of that first show led to a second, the following year which was even better supported, and then decades slipped away, and here we are, 2016. Amazingly, of the original artists in those first two shows, 4 are still very much at work and continue to exhibit annually in the shows. Perhaps even more amazingly, given the vagaries and difficulties facing organizers everywhere, most of the original organizing committee – the Central Japan International Society (CJIS) – continue to be at the helm, and are currently at work preparing for FAE 31. But in case this gives the impression that FAEs are dusty affairs, populated by wrinkled old fossils, it is true to say that nothing could be further from the truth. Nagoya, being such a desirable location for foreigners there is a constant stream of new artists with fresh ideas and original artwork.
FAE 30 had no fewer than 22 first-time exhibitors with the countries of Bahrain and Lithuania being represented for the first time. (For the statistically inclined, 46 countries have so far been represented in FAEs since 1986 with the US and Brazil being the main countries. Nearly 400 artists have shown artworks — a record 77 took part in 2015 — while around 1,300 visitors came to the show (also a record for a 6-day exhibition at NIC). It’s hard to calculate just how many artworks have been displayed over these years, but it obviously runs into the thousands.
So, once more, the organizers are looking for new artists who would like to show their work to an admiring public, at NIC in early November. By “artists” we mean painters, photographers (sadly, no holiday snaps, please), printers, sculptors, dr’aughtsmen, potters (especially potters!), graphic designers, computer artists (supply your own hardware), installationers, etc., etc. Themes are absolutely at artists’ discretion, though, for want of a better word, “controversial” material may be taken down, at organizers’ discretion.