KOBE Biennale 2011

KOBE Biennale 2011:Encounters with Art in the Port
October 1, 2011 (Sat) to November 23, 2011 (Wed/ Holiday):54days
■Main Venues
Kobe Harborland
Port of Kobe(Po-ai Shiosai Park)
Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art
Sannomiya / Motomachi area
Approx. 300 million yen
■Organized by
The organizing Committee for KOBE Biennale, and The City of Kobe
■With assistance form
Hyogo Prefectural Government
■Symbol Mark
In 2006, a public call was made for entries for a symbol to represent KOBE Biennale. 1,108 entries were received and the symbol was chosen from among them. Click here for details about the symbol mark, to download the mark and for usage regulations.

KOBE Biennale aims to highlight the role of art has played in the history of Kobe and, indeed, of Japan itself, and the powerful presence of art in the modern oeuvre of the city and country. It also seeks to bring the world’s attention to areas that have previously escaped wider notice, such as the wondrous spectacles that can be found in the myriad resources and characteristics of the city and the lifestyles or its people if only we care to look.

Past KOBE Biennales sought to promote deai (“meeting”, theme of 2007) of the people of Kobe and the wider world and to foster wa (“harmony”, 2009) among them. The latest version of KOBE Biennale will be held under the theme of Kira (“sparkle”) in the hope that the event will not only uphold the lofty ideals of past celebrations, but also highlight the lovely radiance of the people of Kobe and the world.

In Japanese, kira is an onomatopee, but it is not limited to describing tangible things. Indeed, it was chosen as the theme for KOBE Biennale 2011 to seek out as-yet undiscovered gems of beauty in the natural environment and the lifestyles and artistic outlooks, and to represent the sparkling beauty of those attractions once they are brought to light. It is our fervent hope that KOBE Biennale 2011 will serve to spark an interactive communication of kira, where one discovery will inspire others, eventually creating a new paradigm in Kobe, its people and arts.

KOBE Biennale 2011 is set to serve as a conduit through which to discover the radiant sparkle that we so desperately need right now, and to shine that light on the whole world starting right here in Kobe.

~Drawing upon the Arts for urban Development “Implementation of Culture Creation City”~

KOBE Biennale 2011 has several aims: to use the power of art to inspire people to reconsider and re-evaluate local resources, and to spread the word about the wonderful resources that Kobe has; to serve as a gathering of creative talent; to serve as forum for interaction of Art Culture and an inspiration for a diverse range of projects for citizens to participate in; and to promote cooperation in activities of Art Culture. Through this, we hope to further invigorate the city and to contribute to the generation of further vitality together with citizens and artists.

1.Reconsidering and re-evaluating local resources and spreading the word about Kobe’s attractions

Using art as a vehicle for reconsidering and re-evaluating local resources, and using this to promote greater recycling and better use of those resources, we hope to spread the word about the wonderful attractions Kobe has to offer and create prosperity about the city. Kobe’s long history and the rich vein of design that flows through the city’s compact urban confines will be leveraged to highlight Kobe’s cosmopolitan, port-city image as a city fed on a diverse range of art and culture from around the world.

2.A gathering of creative talent

Art exhibitions featuring works chosen via competitions will be used as a means of discovering and developing up-and-coming artists, while overseas artists will be invited to exhibit so as to raise the overall standard of KOBE Biennale, thus bringing together a diverse range of creative talent to help solidify Kobe’s place as a Design City.

3.A forum for interaction of arts and cultures and an inspiration for a diverse range of projects for citizen participation

Kobe’s many active Art Culture related organizations will be called upon to cooperate with the event. Through this, we hope that KOBE Biennale 2011 will inspire a range of new forums for citizens to participate in, and serve as a forum for interaction between artists, designers and creators from throughout Japan and the whole world.

4.Promoting cooperation in artistic and cultural activity

Another aim of KOBE Biennale is to expand the scope of cooperation among those involved in art and culture, starting with Kobe and growing to include Hyogo Prefecture, areas along the Seto Inland Sea coast, Asia and the whole world.

Main Venues
■Kobe Harborland


■Port of Kobe(Po-ai Shiosai Park)
A new venue will be added for KOBE Biennale 2011: Port Island Shiosai Park (on the western flank of the island). A ferry service will connect Shiosai Park with other venues to allow visitors not only to enjoy the arts on each site, but also to see the wonderful Kobe cityscape from out on the sea.
■Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art
The museum will exhibit works of guest artists.


■Sannomiya / Motomachi area
The unique arcade under the elevated tracks between Kobe and Motomachi stations on the JR railway will host experimental installations aimed at promoting artistic use of local resources.
Exhibitions, other projects

KOBE Biennale 2011 will feature exhibitions and performances not only of modern art, but also of a wide spectrum of Art Culture genres, selected through competitions. One of the major aims of the event is to promote the fusion and interaction of all kinds of Art Culture by training the spotlight on culture as a whole, including traditional culture and lifestyle culture, in addition to conventional art.

1.Art in a Container International Competition
Dry containers will be converted into unique exhibition spaces to house the Art in a Container International Competition. Artists will be challenged to use their boundless creativity to come up with an expression of the power and potential of art within the 40ft confined of container.
2.SHITSURAI ART International Competition at the Po-ai Shiosai Park
Kobe’s unique bay area location is a noticeable feature of KOBE Biennale. Visitors have the opportunity to take special ferries to different locations to view wonderful exhibitions ' and enjoy the view of the Port of Kobe and the cityscape from the sea.
3.Guest Artist Exhibitions
A number of international modern artists will be invited to exhibit a range of works for KOBE Biennale.
4.Modern Pottery Exhibition
Visitors will love the exhibition of modern pottery that inherits the everlasting essence of Japanese crafts without compromising the basic philosophy of self-expression.
5.Artistic Photo Exhibition
Dry container will be converted into exhibition spaces in which photographers will display works ' and also they used innovative ideas and techniques to seek out new possibilities for the photographic medium.
6.Street Performance Competition
Juggling, pantomime and many other forms of physical expression are just worthy of the name art as any other form, and street performance will surely be a spectacle at KOBE Biennale Venues.
7.Green Art Exhibition
KOBE Biennale will feature a green art exhibition displaying flowers and other greenery sure to fill visitors with peace and fulfillment.
8.Children’s Painting Exhibition.
The children are our future and KOBE Biennale will feature a children’s painting exhibition in the hope that contact with the arts will serve to broaden the younger generation’s horizons.
9.“Future Ikebana” Exhibition
Ikebana artists from all over Japan will gather to unveil arrangements that collaborate modernization with respect for the traditions of art.
10.Close up on local artists
Local artists and those with links to Kobe will exhibit a breathtaking array of Japanese and Western paintings, calligraphy, crafts, music and dance, thus showing the world the full breadth of Kobe’s art community.
11.Exhibitions of Art by disabled artists
It is our fond hope that the wonderful art produced by disable artists will help create a forum for communication. Exhibitions will be held on a broad scale in the hope of sparking a great network of interaction.
Other events
In addition to promoting conventional arts, KOBE Biennale is the ideal event for spreading the word about Kobe’s characteristic lifestyle culture, for instance as illustrated by the city’s unique confectionaries, and strong consideration will be given to other worthy genres for inclusion in the biennale.
Collaboration, Participation, Interaction
Looking to expand the scope of cooperation among those involved in art and culture, we look forward to exhibiting a range of works in collaboration with art- and culture-related organizations and facilities from Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture, areas along the Seto Inland Sea coast, Asia and the whole world.
KOBE Biennale sponsors events held by art- and culture-related organizations that support the objectives of KOBE Biennale, not to mention local citizens, in order that both sponsor’s and benefactor’s events may prosper.
Citizens are encouraged to participate in KOBE Biennale as volunteers in a range of roles, including promotion, pre-events, support for creation of artworks, venue operation and administrative help. Through such popular participation, we aim to broaden the scope of cultural activity in Kobe.
One of the features of KOBE Biennale is the range of workshops held by participating artists. Not only do the workshops serve to boost interest in and understanding of art, they are also an effective way for people to get a feel for the enjoyment of creating a work of art.
5.Art Market
KOBE Biennale features a market that affords professional and amateur artists equal opportunity to sell their works and provides visitors a great array of art to choose from.
6.Forums for interaction
KOBE Biennale attracts a very large number of artists, designers, creators and citizens. The event acts as a forum for interaction with superb opportunities for networking and unlimited inspiration for new creation.