The 42nd Annual Powell Street Festival
We are excited to support and celebrate another year of Japanese Canadian Arts & Culture at the 42nd annual Powell Street Festival. In partnership with Abaton Projects and the Powell Street Festival, it is an honor to be curating the 3rd Annual Design Competition. We are enthusiastic about challenging students to be creative while taking civic engagement, cultural relevance, environmental sustainability, and practicality of design into account.
Congratulations to Jana Ghimire, Phoebe Huang, Haylee Marx, Elisha Wang, and Carmen Wong from SFU for their winning design. The inspiration behind the project not only comes from traditional Japanese folklore but pays tribute to Japanese Canadian history and playfully references contemporary media. Steven Schmidt – winner of the 2016 design competition and now working at Revery Architecture – is mentoring the winners of this year’s installation.
The structure – titled “Karakasa – Obake” (umbrella ghost) – is based on one eyed, one legged, supernatural creatures from Japanese folktales that are referred to as tsukumogami. The term tsukumogami is used to represent discarded household objects that spring to life after hundreds of years of use. The materials being used to create the Wagasa (umbrella) will be knotted repurposed plastic. Origami wagasa making was a popular pastime in Japanese internment camps where many would use cigarette pack wrappers, toothpicks, and wooden chopsticks to create miniature versions of the wagasa. In contemporary media, Kasa-obake are lively animated with one eye, a tongue sticking out, and hopping on one leg. They are frequently portrayed as silly spooks – featured in video games as minor enemies or silly doodles of Japanese school kids.
The design is currently in development and will be revealed at the Powell Street Festival’s opening ceremony, 11:30am on Saturday, August 6 at Oppenheimer Park. We are thrilled to see the community come together once again and be able to guide another group of prospective and creative students.