Sapporo International Art Festival comes back with a winter edition in 2020

Sapporo International Art Festival

The Sapporo International Art Festival (SIAF) is an art festival held every three years in Sapporo, Japan. While it has been held during the summer and autumn since its launch in 2014, this third 2020 edition will take place during Hokkaido’s famously frigid and snowy winter in a bid to embrace the unique characteristics of this fascinating city. Through SIAF2020, we hope to boost the creativity of local residents by bringing works of contemporary and media art into the city, while simultaneously promoting Sapporo and its attractions across Japan and to the rest of the world through this encounter with the city’s characteristic climate, as well as the cultures of the northern region at large.

To ensure its success, SIAF2020 will be helmed by a team of three directors, each with a specific area of expertise: two Curatorial Directors will co-curate and manage the SIAF programs, while the Director of Communication Design will focus on promoting SIAF effectively to its prospective visitors.

Curatorial Director of Contemporary Art

Taro Amano is Curator in Chief of the Yokohama Civic Art Gallery Azamino, and has been involved in planning numerous exhibitions, including many outside Japan. He served as the curatorial head of the 2011 and 2014 editions of the Yokohama Triennale. Amano doubles as the Director in Chief.

Curatorial Director of Media Art

Agnieszka Kubicka-Dzieduszycka is a media art curator based in Poland who has worked to organize 13 successive editions of the WRO Media Art Biennale. She has curated numerous media art exhibitions and festivals and served as a coordinator of international cultural events.

Director of Communication Design

Kanoko Tamura runs Art Translators Collective, an organization specializing in interpretation and translation in art. She explores the possibilities of creative communication and translation as a mediator while working in many fields, including interpretation, translation, editing and publicity in Japanese and English.


The theme of Sapporo International Art Festival (abbreviated as SIAF), which will be held for the third time in the winter of 2020, is “Of Roots and Clouds”. The roots on the earth and the clouds in the sky are the scenes that symbolize the vast nature of Hokkaido and Sapporo, and can be regarded as the range of human activities on the earth. There are continual circulations and transitions, as clouds turn into rain and snow, spread over the earth, return to the sky again through rivers and seas. Trees have roots that are invisible to the human eye, and clouds cannot be caught by reaching out. Over the years, people have built a society between things that are invisible and inaccessible. Under the soil, not only the roots of plants, but also the memories of ancestors and past events sleep, and the invisible network created by technology as well as clouds and birds emerges above the sky. However, the vast amount of information that the society produces now accumulates without sound like snow, making it impossible to know where you are and where you want to be, as if you have lost visibility due to the snow-white phenomenon. Often. The natural circulation that seems to last forever is also endangered by human hands. Geologists have argued about 20 years ago that they entered the “Niocene” era, when human activity had a deadly geological impact comparable to massive earthquakes and eruptions. There are pros and cons to this idea, but at least that our human behavior can destroy the planet we live in, and the social and political issues we face and the challenges of everyday life. In order to overcome it and connect it to the next generation, we are sounding a warning that even if we look only at human society, it will not be solved. In other words, people are forced to think not only about the snow that falls in front of them but also where they come from and where they go and where they can’t see them in everyday life and think about the future. is.

Along with this theme, snowswept Sapporo will become the stage for works and program of contemporary art and media art that resonate with the city’s characteristic climate and the cultures of the northern region at large.

Also as an art festival based in Hokkaido, SIAF has always cherished the culture and creativity of the Ainu people. As a mark of our profound respect for all the experiences and knowledge that they have inherited, and our wish to work together with them toward a brighter future, the title and theme of SIAF2020 will be shown in Ainu (sinrit means “roots,” and niskur means “clouds”) alongside Japanese and English.