Setouchi Triennale – Ogijima Art (2019)

Ogijima is a small island with a small community.  The area is small enough that it can be considered a single area but it is split into two distinct geographical sections.  The main “Community Area” is Ogicho and has most of the art.  Most of the art opens at 9:30, 30 minutes after the first ferry arrives.  If you arrive early, it is recommended to head to the Ogi Fishing Port Area where all artwork is public.  It isn’t a far walk but Ogicho and the fishing port area do have a different feel to each other.

Community Area

og1 – Ogijima’s Soul

Ogijima’s Soul by Jaume Plensa is a very beautiful artwork.  It is an architectural artwork that is used as Ogijima’s terminal building.  It is a simple glass box with a beautiful roof.  The all white roof consists of letters in no seeming order.  It is one of the most photographed objects in Ogijima for obvious reasons.  I consider it to be the symbol of Ogijima, although there are a lot of those.  Every time I return to Ogijima, I know I’m there when I see this building and it always puts a smile on my face.

og02 – Takotsuboru by Team Ogi

Takotsuboru is a fun playful artwork by Team Ogi.  You can see some of their other artwork in the harbour and around Ogijima but Takotsuboru is their latest one and officially part of the Triennale.  It is basically a children’s playground with an octopus trap.  The artwork has grown during the Triennale as they have added to it.  Think of it as a living artwork where the barnacles multiply and the octopus legs also multiply.  In fact, on the last day of the summer edition of the Triennale, we noticed new octopus tentacles connected with the artwork itself.

og03 – Generative wall drawing on Japanese paper house by Goro Murayama

Generative wall drawing on Japanese paper house is a nice artwork by Goro Maruyama.  I found it interesting but still a disappointment to what had been in the house in the past.  It is still an improvement on Lighthouse from 2016, and the significance and connection with the islands was much greater.  Goro Maruyama took the local sea organisms, I believe seaweed, and used them in the paints for the artwork.  I was more impressed with the first floor colours than the second floor.

og04 – The Sea Within – The See Within by Sarah Westphal

The Sea Within – The See Within was a fun artwork that was quite amazing to see.  Located in the old post office of Ogijima, you really can’t understand what it is about until you actually enter it.  I had no idea what it was but you are warned that it is very dark and there is a pool inside as well.  You actually need a minute for your eyes to adjust to the darkness.  It is a simple work where you have an image a room in a house and one of an octopus.  The octopus is actually a video and a pool in the middle creates a beautiful reflection of the images.  It was pretty hard to capture in photos but I really enjoyed it.

og05 – Project for wall painting in lane, ogijima wallalley (sic)

Ogijima Wallalley is a great artwork that spans the entire village on Ogijima.  Rikuji Makabe took various boards and painted them with a few different patterns.  He then cut them and mixed them together and installed them on various houses throughout the village.  As you walk through the village, you can see these boards in various places making a sort of Easter egg hunt where you have to find all of them.


ONBA・FACTORY has been a long term project by Onba Factory.  The onba are simple push carts that the people of the island use to move goods around.  Yoshifumi Oshima is the designer and he has made various designs from a Citroen to Meon replicas.  The carts themselves are well used by the locals as they need to get goods from the ferry back home.  The factory has several of the onba on display and a history of most of the onba that have been made.  If you are ever at the pier when a ferry comes in, just wait 10 minutes and you’ll see some of the old ladies come in and pick things up with their onba.


The Space Flower・Dance・Ring (宇宙華・舞・環)” by Takeshi Kawashima & Dream Friends is typical Takeshi Kawashima.  If you have ever seen his previous work for the Triennale, you will know what he does.  For 2016, he did Kaleidoscope Black & White and in 2013 he did Time Tube.  I loved the colours of Space Flower・Dance・Ring compared to Kaleidoscope.  The artwork was actually done on paper, so it makes me wonder if the original Kaleidoscope is still underneath Space Flower.  You can actually see part of the 2016 artwork if you go to the washroom next to the installation and enjoy both artworks for the price of one.

Note:  I have yet to write a long form version of Space Flower・Dream・Ring, but you can read my thoughts about Kaleidoscope from the past.

Note:  Technically Dream Cafe is in front of KALEIDOSCOPE BLACK & WHITE rather than KALEIDOSCOPE BLACK & WHITE being behind Dream Cafe.  Dream Cafe is generally closed outside of the Setouchi Triennale.

og08 – Akinorium

Akinorium by Akinori Matsumoto is one of my favourite artworks on Ogijima and my favourite new one on the island.  Utilizing shadows, bamboo, and servos, Mr. Matsumoto was able to create a wonderful moving art piece that also plays music at the same time.  The music is basically various sounds that seem to be random but I can’t help but feel that it was planned in a way.  It is something that must be experienced in person and no photos or videos can do it justice.

og09 – Unknown Work 2019 by Gregor Schneider

Artwork og09 is unnamed for various reasons but I won’t go into the political details of it.  Suffice to say, it is an unfinished work and may forever be unfinished.  What you can see is basically a black house.  They used environmental paint to paint the entire house a charcoal black, including the front yard and all of the trees around it.  It actually looks like the house was burned in a fire, although still complete.  If the artwork was just a single house, it would be okay, albeit a bit puzzling.  Only time will tell what will happen with this artwork.

og10 – SEA VINE

SEA VINE is a beautiful returning work by Haruki Takahashi.  I was amazed by this artwork in 2013 and couldn’t wait to return in 2016 and 2019.  Delicate strings are suspended in the middle of a tatami room with porcelain petals.  I can’t remember the original very well but I was told that the vine grew for 2016.  For 2019, they renovated things again but I was a little disappointed with the appearance.  I love the look and the petals are a lot thinner than before.  I enjoyed the full petals more, but I also feel the thin ones are beautiful too.  I guess it is like choosing which child you like best.

og11 – Trieb – House by Toshikatsu Endo

Trieb – House is one of my favourite new artworks on Ogijima.  The work itself is really strange and doesn’t seem to have much meaning.  I was confused as it looked like a house that was run down and ready for demolition.  When you enter, you also feel the same as many of the walls had huge holes in them.  It isn’t until you turn to see a huge funnel of water just pouring down.  Photos can show you what it is like, but you really need to watch a video to understand it; and turn up the volume.

og12 – Rotation – Revolution

Rotation – Revolution is a new artwork by Lin Tianmiao that didn’t really speak to me in any way.  It is basically an installation in a house that takes up several rooms and utilizes many old objects from the island.  They are all attached to rods and then rotated slowly.  Looking at Ms. Tianmiao’s other works, I can see a similar theme but it is not my cup of tea at all.  If you like it, hats off to you but I’m afraid it is lost on me.

og13 – Memory Bottle

Memory Bottle by Mayumi Kuri was one of my favourite pieces of the 2013 Setouchi Triennale.  It is one of the pieces that made me fall in love with Ogijima and it continues to impress me.  The outside of the store room is pretty nondescript but when you enter you are hit by the memories of Ogijima.  This artwork is something that must be experienced as there are hundreds of bottles all hung with various pictures and trinkets from the island.  It is a beautiful exhibit that must be seen as no photos or descriptions can really help you appreciate it.

og14 – Maison de Urushi

Maison de Urushi is a special project that utilizes the local lacquer techniques of Kagawa.  There are 2 main rooms with the first room being the black room.  There were several layers of lacquer on the walls with a white base and then several layers of black.  They cut down through the layers to provide white dots all over for a very impressive artistic look.  The second room is a white lacquer room with a beautiful view and a beautiful closet.  I’m a little torn as to which room would be better to be all white as the white room has a view and the natural light made it very bright, but a black version would provide a great contrast for the view and focus on the view.  The black room was the opposite as it provided a dark atmosphere making it white would have brightened it up a lot.

og15 – The room inside of the room

Oscar Oiwa tends to impress with his artworks and his “The room inside of the room” doesn’t disappoint.  At first, you enter the main house area and the courtyard is a really nice area to just relax.  Once you enter the house, you walk towards the room inside the room and it is very unsuspecting.  You don’t really realize what you are walking into until you actually get into the room.  I knew what to expect but I was still amazed by what I saw.  The entire design along with the art on the main wall is beautiful and must be seen to appreciate it.  It is definitely one of the best artworks on Ogijima.

Ogi Fishing Port Area

og16 – Walking Ark

Walking Ark by Keisuke Yamaguchi is a nice looking artwork that I just didn’t care for.  I think it is nice and a great symbol from afar but up close I didn’t care for it.  It is still fun to see for the first time but in 2016 I kept my distance and only enjoyed it from the harbour rather than going straight to it.  I believe this is an artwork that needs to be played with, especially in a group, as I often see photos of groups of girls poking their heads out from between the legs of Walking Ark.

og17 – Dreaming of Blue

Dreaming of Blue by Regina Silveira is a very interesting artwork covering the front of the elementary school gym on Ogijima.  Whenever I saw it in pictures, I never really liked it but when I got there and could see it clearly, I really liked it.  From many of the photos I have seen, it is nothing more than a blue background with various white and grey tiles.  When you look at it completely, it actually looks like the sky with a few clouds in it.  It is a more beautiful than you can imagine and I really enjoyed how it made me feel.

Past Artworks

OGI Project was part of the Setouchi Triennale but it is no longer officially part of the Triennale. The boats will still be in the harbour for 2019 and well worth your time to visit.

OGI Project

TEAM OGI continues to display some of their cool artworks all over the island.  The OGI Project is part of that but unfortunately nothing is new for 2016.  The fishing boats were originally painted 3 years ago with some local folklore as well as various seascapes.  I was really impressed by it 3 years ago and I’m still impressed this year.  I have gotten used to it so it doesn’t invoke the same amazement as before but it is still a great work that needs to be seen.  Do note that while the main boat is in the main harbour, several boats are also in the fishing village near “Walking Ark”.


The above is my own personal review of the art I have seen on Ogijima.  If you want to be surprised by the art, I recommend that you do not read more than what is written here.  Longer descriptions will be published over time and will be linked at a later time.  Please keep an eye on my social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) for information when they go live.  Photos may also give away part of the art, but in this post, they are minimal.  Spoiler alerts in individual posts will be given when it is necessary for you to enjoy the art for the first time.  If you will not be going to the Setouchi Triennale, feel free to follow the links and read everything and enjoy it as best as you can.