photos by Prum Bandiddh
On November 1st 2020, the Mekong Contemporary Art Foundation was reborn as the Aura Contemporary Art Foundation. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all of you who have supported the foundation so far.
Fifteen years have passed since I left my hometown of Nanki-Shirahama, Wakayama, Japan, and about 10 years have passed since I founded my first business 'One Asia Lawyers' (URL: https://oneasia.legal/en/) in Cambodia. I have seen how the wonderful values that originally existed in each country have been disappearing due to the effects of modernization and urbanization.
As for myself, coming from a rural area of Asia such as Kinan region which is the southern part of Wakayama prefecture. I believe that maintaining and further developing 'AURA'; a value that can only be found in that region, will lead to stability and peace in the world.
In order to embody this, I invested my private funds and established the Mekong Contemporary Art Foundation in 2019. After that time, we have newly changed our name to the Aura Contemporary Art Foundation, to expand our activities beyond our regional boundaries, and to the rest of the world.
In addition, we interpret that 'AURA' is the epitome of spiritual, inner and ritual values that can only exist in the 'here' and 'now', and this is described in the essays of Mr. Walter Benjamin, a German philosopher who lived in the era of fascism. In order to respect the spiritual values of Western countries and the context of Western contemporary art, we gave the foundation a new name in English; 'Aura Contemporary Art Foundation'.
On the other hand, the Japanese name was changed from '美術: Bi-jutsu' (Fine Arts) to '藝術: Gei-jutsu' (Arts). This is because we now feel the concept of 'contemporary art' no longer fits within in the Japanese framework of 'fine art'. Furthermore, grass-roots activities are at the core of our activities, and the Aura Contemporary Art Foundation has decided to use the term '藝 (gei)' which also has the meaning 'planting seeds of the spirit'.
Through contemporary art (gei-jyutu), I hope to contribute to the promotion of cultural education, economic development of primary and secondary industries, and tourism promotion in each region, as well as to build a world in which that region itself can contribute to 'Art' (Gei-jutsu).
We look forward to your further guidance and continued support in the future.