rice paddy art in japan
“The crop art — created by strategically arranging and growing different colors of rice plants — can be seen in farming communities across the country. The largest and finest work is grown in the Aomori prefecture village of Inakadate, which has earned a reputation for its agricultural artistry.”
more photos and other designs here
my eyeballs almost popped out when i saw these, they’re so amazing! such fine detail and intricate planning in the planting of a staple food source, resulting in a beautiful art piece to be admired by the world, to be later harvested to nourish and feed hundreds and thousands of souls. it’s a testament to how art, beauty, and culture can be made anywhere, with anything, for everyone. how a farmer from a province can use his crops as paint, the soil as canvas, and his field as a gallery. in the end, some rich person doesn’t buy the field to be framed and put in his personal collection, and the farmer remains a farmer, left to dream up his newest creation for the next season’s planting.
it’s as basic as art gets, yet it’s a concept that tends to escape many of us. you need not have a diploma from a fancy university, or expensive materials, or a huge sale to be an artist, and the best art is not always found in an expensive museum. any person, from a peasant farmer to the president, should have equal footing in the creation and consumption of art, and the values, ethics, histories, and messages that art pieces convey should be accountable to, and representative of ALL people, especially the poor and marginalized classes. frankly, i’m sick of seeing shit like this in high-priced museums being called “radical” while artworks like the ones above remain unnoticed.
i would love to see peasant farmers in the philippines artistically render their triumphs and struggles in their rice fields! imagine, it could probably help shed media attention on their plight (like genuine agrarian reform). now, obviously you’d need a certain amount of control over the land you till in order to be able to have the freedom to make artwork on it (one that is difficult to attain in the philippines since most farmers don’t actually own their own land, but are owned by the rich/corrupt), but i’m confident that the farmers can find a way! that would be a fantastic way to do protest art 🙂