The Obon on the Foyle Festival group, which is committed to supporting the development of Japanese Arts and Culture in the North West and include local Japanese people, Taiko enthusiasts and Japanophiles, used an award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s Intercultural Arts Programme to further its activities last year.
The funding supported an outreach programme which included Taiko drumming workshops and performance, choral workshops and performance, manga art workshops and exhibition, and dance workshops and performance.
Local Japanese artists and a range of arts groups included the Ibuki Taiko drumming group, the Yu-Jo Taiko Dance and the Inishowen Gospel Choir delivered workshops with over 100 participants from diverse cultural, religious, language and traditions in community settings and rural schools.
The outreach programme then formed part of the Obon on the Foyle day-long Japanese Festival of Taiko and Light in June 2015 which created a ‘Little Tokyo’ in Claudy, County Londonderry attracting audiences of over 500 people.
Fiona Umetsu, Co-ordinator with Obon on The Foyle Festival commented: “The Intercultural Arts Funding we were lucky to receive was indispensible for our project.
“It enabled us to work with a diverse and eclectic range of Japanese art forms and bring them to the attention of the public. The Obon Japanese Festival itself would not have been possible as all the performances were a direct result of workshops supported by the Intercultural Arts Fund’.
The newly launched ICAP fund can be accessed at http://www.artscouncil-ni.org/funding/scheme/intercultural-arts-grants-programme and is open for applications until March 31, 2016.