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The Snake Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) opened in Iwaki

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Installation view of Snake Museum of Contemporary Art, Iwaki, Japan, 2013 Photo by Ono Kazuo, courtesy Cai Studio 

Co-organized by Cai Studio and the Iwaki Board for the Project to Plant Ten Thousand Cherry Blossom Trees, the Snake Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) opened with an inaugural exhibition on April 28, 2013.

Cai Guo-Qiang with Snake Museum of Contemporary Art, Iwaki, Japan, 2013. Photo by Ono Kazuo, courtesy Cai Studio. 

As part of artist Cai Guo-Qiang’s conceptual series Everything is Museum, SMoCA subverts the definition of a traditional art museum. A community effort initiated by the artist, local residents and volunteers helped build a 99-meter long winding corridor with trees contaminated by radiation from the 11th March, 2011 Great East Japan earthquake and Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.

Iginition of Editions for SMoCA, Iwaki, Japan, 2013. Photo by Tsukuru Asada 

At the opening of SMoCA, Cai created a gunpowder explosion on top of 99 terracotta tiles from his hometown of Quanzhou. Each tile is available for sale for 300,000 yen (approx. US$3,000), with 100% of the proceeds to be donated to the operations of SMoCA and the Project to Plant Ten Thousand Cherry Blossom Trees. Results from the second Posters by Iwaki Children contest were also announced, followed by an award ceremony.

Left to right: Cai Guo-Qiang, winner of the Our Homeland in Ten Years Children's Poster Contest, Shiga Tadashige, director of Iwaki city Art Museum, Iwaki, Japan, 2013. Photo by Ono Kazuo, courtesy Cai Studio. 


Project to Plant Ten Thousand Cherry Blossom Trees : The Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, along with the Fukushima nuclear disaster that ensued, destroyed the homes of countless local residents. As a second hometown to Cai, Iwaki in the Fukushima prefecture was heavily struck by the catastrophe, with several hundred thousands of people forced to evacuate from their homes after the quake. In response, Cai immediately donated one of his works for a charity auction at China Guardian, where all proceeds were donated to friends in Iwaki. While Cai originally intended the funds to be used for rebuilding homes in the disaster area, his friends suggested instead to establish the Project to Plant Ten Thousand Cherry Blossom Trees.

The Snake Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA)
address: Japan, Fukushima-ken, Iwaki-shi, Tairanakakabeya, Chisosaku7
contact:    Project to Plant Ten Thousand Cherry Blossom Trees ofice TEL:+81-246-25-0541

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