Project Director of Design Center Ishikawa
The Preliminary Assessment for the Ishikawa International Urushi Exhibition 2020 was badly affected by the COVID-19 Crisis. In the middle of April, the Preliminary Assessment was held without the Assessment Panel members’ participation in person. I was one of the Panel members as well as being the chairperson of the Executive Committee of the Ishikawa International Urushi Exhibition. Therefore, the Preliminary Assessment was an unforgettable start of the exhibition for me.
As the Preliminary Assessment is performed based on digital images, it was possible for the members of the Assessment Panel to assess the submitted works without meeting in person. The total number of submissions for the Preliminary Assessment was 215. This is the largest number of submissions ever, even larger than that of the previous exhibition as well as the one before that, when the submissions were divided into two categories, the Design Category and the Art Category. At the Preliminary Assessment, 80 works were chosen, 34 submissions for the Design Category and 46 submissions for the Art Category. The applicants vary from the young to the elderly, from young students in their 20s to experts in their 70s, including both male and female artists.
Fortunately at the beginning of June, the restrictions on moving between prefectures were eased. So we could hold the Final Assessment by inviting all the members of the Assessment Panel, including those from outside Ishikawa prefecture. They assessed the original works which were sent to the Secretariat after they had been selected at the Preliminary Assessment. This time the Executive Committee received even more excellent works, so at the first round of assessment, the jurors’ votes were distributed widely among the works. With discussions and more rounds of voting, the prize winners were finally decided.
And so, our activities were hindered by the COVID-19 Crisis in many ways. However, looking back at the whole procedure, the Exhibition competition has been a productive experience. This was the first time that a work submitted for the Design Category was awarded the Grand Prize, and we have discovered some young female artists who have been active in the Art Category. Some works submitted to the Design Category have a message, about the value of the utensils which we should use with great care for a long time. In this way, the selected works truly express the theme of this Exhibition competition, “The Future of Urushi Ware.” I look forward to the future development of this Exhibition.