Dream of Olive by Wang Wen Chih is a jewel in Nakayama on Shodoshima. It is a large “olive” made of bamboo placed at the bottom of a hill among rice terraces. The road along the rice terraces is pretty high up the hill and the view down into the fields is beautiful with a huge olive on one side. It was amazing to see at first and even more enjoyable once you get inside.
The first thing you need to do is to walk along the road of the rice fields. There are fields both above and below the road but the views below are magnificent. The area is not very big but large enough that you still feel in awe of what you are seeing. If you have never seen rice terraces in East Asia, then you are in for a treat. I do wish I was there when the fields were flooded with water as I’m sure that is beautiful too but with the beautiful green grass from the rice just swaying in the wind, I was happy to visit in the summer as well.
As you walk down to Dream of Olive, you need to be a little careful. The path is steep and somewhat narrow. There was a nice fresh water stream next to the path I travelled and the water was refreshingly cold; especially for a hot day. Once you get to the bottom, you have to be a little careful as there are electric fences designed to keep wild boar out. You don’t want to touch the fence as it will probably give you a big shock.
The entrance to Dream of Olive is a long path made of bamboo. Everything about the artwork is bamboo. There really isn’t much to the design but you do have to be careful as the bamboo is not flat and it can be easy to lose your balance if you are not paying attention. At the entrance there is a small version of the central area. This small “olive” is cute but not worth a lot of time. You can enjoy it a little and it is very photogenic but I really just wanted to go inside and see what was so important about this artwork.
The main olive of Dream of Olive is a big area. There is enough room for about 50 people, but honestly 20 is a lot; we only saw about 10 people at a time. Once you go inside, you can walk around a little but the central area is where you can really enjoy this artwork. You have to take off your shoes and then you can enter the central area. The bamboo is wonderful to walk on but it can be painful. I really enjoyed the massage it gave my feet, especially after a few days of walking for the Setouchi Triennale. I even lied down a little and it was really good for my back.
There is also a small passage out the back but the rear exit was blocked off. It was fun to take photos there and others really enjoyed it too. I really felt that Dream of Olive had a similar feel to the Teshima Art Museum. While not as grand, it was just as relaxing. I could easily spend an entire day just enjoying the peace and quiet.
The only problem with Dream of Olive is that it is a temporary exhibit. I wish it was permanent but unfortunately the bamboo cannot survive the elements and will be dismantled someday. While this is not the first year that they created this artwork, they do change each Triennale. Unfortunately you have to hurry to see this specific artwork as it ages quickly, but hopefully the next Setouchi Triennale will continue the tradition with a new version of Dream of Olive.
- Dream of Olive (Official Setouchi Triennale Site)