In Japan, autumn is one of the most beautiful seasons due to the breathtaking fall foliage. And each year during this season, the Wara Art Festival is held at Uwasekigata Park located in the region of Niigata Prefecture. Since 2008, students from Musashino Art University in Tokyo visit the area to create straw sculptures of gigantic animals.
The Niigata prefecture is known for the superior quality rice. This region also has the highest rice crop yield in all of Japan. Rice harvest typically happens at the start of fall season. After the harvest season, local farmers come up with several ways to recycle leftover rice straw. They use the rice straw, or ‘wara’ in Japanese to feed livestock, make fiberboard, for soil conditioning, making pulp for paper and more. Despite all these recycling methods, Niigata farmers are still left with so many straws. So, they decided to invite art students in Tokyo to create sculptures with the leftovers.
The Annual Wara Art Festival In Niigata Prefecture Features Gigantic Straw Sculptures Of Animals
In late August of 2008, several students from Musashino Art University responded to the invitation and went to Niigata for the innovative art exhibit. By braiding the sturdy straw over a wooden frame, they were able to create straw art in monumental sizes. A giant snail, a pair of giant ducks, super-sized mushrooms and various human figures, all made from rice straw. The first art exhibit became a huge success so the students vowed to return again next year. And that’s how it became a yearly tradition.
Art Students From Tokyo Create Super-Sized Sculptures
Over the years that followed the annual Wara Art Festival has featured many fierce animals. Sculptures of a dragon, mammoth, whale, gorilla, crocodile, rhino, dinosaur and more have been created. Locals and tourists alike flock to the Uwasekigata Park to see the magnificent sculptural pieces on display. Right after rice harvest season, which usually starts late August, art students come up with impressive new sculptural creations to adorn the venue. Visitors can also take photos with the gargantuan sculptures until the end of October.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 Wara Art Festival was cancelled. So, we’re going to look back at some of the most stunning sculptures that have graced the event in previous years. Hopefully, the pandemic will be over next year so everything will be back to normal. And we’ll be seeing more ferocious animal sculptures in the 2021 Wara Art Festival.
You can learn more about the annual Wara Art Festival on the video below
Source: Niigata City