Sunday, 11 May 2014
Art Right Under Your Feet
Often as we walk the streets, I will take the time to stop and photograph some of the more interesting designs. After all, there are said to be over 6000 different images throughout the country that include a wide range of popular motifs based upon the Japanese love for landscapes, nature, local landmarks and festivals. The designs themselves vary considerably depending upon the prefecture in which they are found, but they are always highly intricate and stylized designs. Quite often the covers are painted in detailed colours, but they are equally impressive as relief images in their raw metallic state.
So if you do happen to step foot in Japan, remember to take look at what is happening on the streets. Great art isn’t always to be found in galleries, but can often be discovered in the most unlikely of places. While exhibitions will come and go, I’m sure that this form of art will be around for a good many years to come. The humble manhole cover, as seen on most local streets, remains yet another one of those quirky artifacts of modern Japan. Although remaining functional, they continue to reflect a certain attention to civic detail, but more importantly an artistic sensitivity to an object that is so often overlooked in most other countries. Sure, it may sound a bit ‘nerdy’, but the manholes here do certainly grab your attention and are quite impressive. I guess it’s like viewing any form of art; it’s all about the search and discovery of something new… even if it is to be found just below your feet!