UNKNOWN ASIA 2021 Closing Remarks

"The Kiyo Bank presents UNKNOWN ASIA 2021" closed on Sunday, October 17th.

UNKNOWN ASIA has been held since 2015 as an artist-led art fair, and this year marks the seventh time it has been held.
Last year, due to the global coronavirus pandemic, we could not hold an art fair at an actual venue, so we created our original online art fair system and had our first online art fair. The organizing committee members continued to discuss various concerns, such as whether and when the fair could be held, whether exhibitors would be able to gather, and how to deal with infectious diseases. In the end, we decided to have a hybrid art fair in 2021, combining online and in-person venues, to continue providing artists opportunities. We want to thank all of your support in organizing the fair during these challenging times.

First of all, we would like to express our sincere gratitude to Kiyo Bank, our special sponsor, and the 13 other sponsors for their support of our first hybrid fair. Without the cooperation of our sponsors, we could not have held this fair. With their continuous support, we can continue our activities to promote art from Osaka. Thank you very much. We would also like to express our sincere gratitude to the more than 200 judges and reviewers who participated from every region, and to our cooperating media partners and related companies for their tremendous support. We had participants from Korea, China, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and New York for the online judging. It must have been not easy to judge the works after viewing them in the online system.
On the other hand, at the actual venue, the art fair returned after a two-year absence. So many people gathered here, and authentic communication with the artists was born. We are looking forward to future collaborations between you and the artists.

We would also like to express our great respect and gratitude to all the artists who decided to exhibit in the challenging situation, holding a hybrid exhibition for the first time. There were probably a lot of worries and things for the preparations. However, we hope that by choosing to take on this challenge under such circumstances, the artists could have encounters that will lead to their future activities. We sincerely hope that various projects will be born out of these encounters between the judges/reviewers and the artists in Asia. UNKNOWN ASIA will also support this year's Grand Prix winner, ”Tomoshi Yasuda,” and the many other artists to further their careers.
Furthermore, the Audience Award, chosen by the general guests, went to "Urata Spancall"! We were thrilled to see her win the Audience Award at UNKNOWN ASIA, which she chose as a place to present her works after a 10-year hiatus. As an additional prize for the Audience Award, we will invite her to exhibit as a guest artist at the next art event.

Online, the event could be accessed worldwide using smartphones and PCs, and the number of visitors (page views) was 11,925. Although we had to limit the number of visitors due to infectious diseases, we had a total of 7,041 visitors over the three days. We want to thank everyone who visited us online and everyone who came to the actual event.

Throughout this year's UNKNOWN ASIA, I have felt that the value of material things has become stronger after a year and a half of daily life, mainly online. I reminded once again that building relationships through dialogue and interaction in the actual venue is still a wonderful thing. At the same time, using online tools to communicate with people overseas in real-time was also a great advantage, and I feel that the hybrid event was able to make good use of the benefits of each. This year, we also added new projects such as gallery booths to enhance the value of the art fair. To continue to hold the fair in the future, we will continue to evolve by exploring new possibilities through trial and error and actively incorporating them.
How will the artists' antennas receive the complicated information from this challenging time, and how will they output it? We hope that UNKNOWN ASIA will become a base for the transmission of information, and we will continue to work on this project to support new possibilities for the next era.

Lastly, I would like to thank all the staff members who worked with me to organize UNKNOWN ASIA. Planning, preparing, and executing the event in the current situation with coronavirus was indeed an arduous task. This fair would not have been possible without the cooperation of those who worked as executive committee members, those involved in various sections such as production, management, and publicity, those who worked at the reception desk on the actual day of the event. They've been such a big help.
We wish you all good health and hope that the day will come when we can travel back and forth to Asia again.
Thank you very much for your continued support!

October 18th, 2021
UNKNOWN ASIA Executive Committee
Executive Producer Ryo Takahashi

The artist page of "Kiyo presents UNKNOWN ASIA 2021 ONLINE" will still be viewed as an archive.