In Love with Sapporo: S-AIR Artist Report

Hello from a Malaysian artist. My hometown is Kuala Lumpur, which means ‘city of mud’. It’s a chaotic place full of contradictions _ roadside stalls sit beside shiny tall buildings, squatter houses survive in the shadow of mega shopping malls and people of different cultures, languages and religions are trying to find a way to live together meaningfully.

When I first arrived in Sapporo, I missed the chaos. I was lost and confused! Sapporo is a beautiful, healthy city. I remember sitting beside Toyohira river and feeling like it was washing away all the confusion and tension I had brought with me from home. I felt like stranger being welcomed with open arms.

Even though I only spent 2 months in Sapporo, it’s like a lifetime has passed. There were so many personal and artistic transformations. I think it can be simplified by saying that I just become a more ‘whole’ person _ I learned about balance between work and play, private and social, urban and nature, art and life. How one feels inside impacts our perspective of the world, and therefore our ability to affect changes in reality.

As artists, we absorb so much from our surroundings. Every situation is different, and it may not be possible to recreate that particular happiness I felt in Japan in this local context. Just the same, it has been wonderful to experience it because it shows me what is possible if we just have faith and the right attitude. To be given a dream that also a reality is a great gift. I know I will channel this newfound energy and confidence into my own community.

My deepest thanks to Japan Foundation for this opportunity. At S-AiR, I’d like to thank Shibata-san, Fuyuka, Kibo, Emi and all the people at Intercross Creative Center. None of it would have been possible without them. Also thank you to the people and artists of Sapporo who are probably the most open and warm community have I ever encountered!

To the future artists of S-AiR, I congratulate you and ask you to prepare for the time of your life. You will be transformed, as I have been.

The last word goes to Janet Lilo, my friend and fellow resident artist. It has been a great pleasure to be on this adventure with her. We could not have been a better team.  Besides learning a lot from her, we had such a great time together! It’s really been unforgettable.

Until we meet again on the next journey.

Salam mesra dan ribuan terima kasih,
Sharon Chin

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