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Rainmaker Project in Kenya - draft profile

The Yokohama Art Project, a Japanese non-profit organization (NPO), has been involved since 2005 in the Rainmaker Project, a project for recovering vegetation in Kenya using clay balls that contain plant seeds. The goal of this project is to transform African dry land filled with trees and plants with more rain fall. Yokohama Art Project was established in 2001 to vitalize people and communities through art activities by citizens. Considering this greening activity as a type of art to help create a brighter future, the NGO is actively working on the Rainmaker Project.

The idea for the project came when Mr. Ryuji Enokida, head of the organization, was talking with a friend who had visited Africa. The friend described the state of desertification in Africa and told him that vegetation covering an area of 10 square kilometres or more can cause rainfall. Afforestation using clay balls was developed by Mr. Masanobu Fukuoka, a Japanese farmer who is promoting natural farming. The clay balls are made by mixing clay soil, water and seeds, forming small balls, and drying them before sowing. In this way, the seeds in the clay balls are protected from drying out and also from small animals that eat seeds.

Kenya is suffering from serious desertification of its lands - in the last ten years, the ratio of forests in Kenya have radically decreased, from approximately 15% to 1.7%. Its capital, Nairobi, is forced to cut its water supply every three days.
Faced with such severe conditions, the Kenyan government made a formal request in the beginning of February, asking to carry out the Rainmaker project starting this March. The reason for this timing is because the month of March is one of the two rainy seasons in Kenya, and any efforts of greening will be more effective during these periods. The people of Kenya are desperarately seeking measures that can help them with the issue of desertification.

In March 2006, the NGO staff and local people began scattering the clay balls in a one hectare semi-desert area. The results were better than expected; not only did the seeds in the clay balls germinate, but also dormant native seeds were activated as a result of the environmental change. A second sowing was carried out in September 2006 in four areas, for a total of eight hectares. The sowing program is to be continued twice a year just before the rainy season (March and September).

The NGO is also making a documentary film about its greening activities. After the film is completed around July 2007, any profits will be used for the Rainmaker Project. As the project is highly appreciated by local people, it is expected to continue for an extended period of time.

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IDA Projects & Yokohama Art Project - Exhibition draft outline

1.Yokohama Art Project - Ryuji Enokida

- Rainmaker
            Environmental - art and science

- Affliate partner
- City of Yokohama
            Creative City - Art Triennial - New Media Festival - ZAIM gallery
- Beijing Film Aacademy

            New media festival - building academic profiles and opportunities between Japan and China

- Principal Director Ryuji Enokida
            Music and creative director

2. IDA Projects Steve Danzig
- IDA Projects Exhibition New Media
            Australia - Japan - China - London - New York

• Rainmaker international art exhibition program
Kenya - Japan - China - Australia - London - New York

YAP and IDAproejcts with support from government agencies and institutional organisations will coordinate and present an international touring exhibition responding to the Rainmaker environmental directive. The exhibition will be curated and run under the auspices of a board and committee. The exhibition will highlight leading international artists, an emerging student program including an intern exchange for Japanese, Chinese and Australian students as well as hosting public and educational programs.

- Rainmaker exhibition program:
            Rainmaker art exhibition:
            1. Invitational for established artists to respond to the Rainmaker philosophy
            2. 12 established artists representing 12 months of the year
            3. mediums will include New media, photography, painting, sculpture
            4. Exhibition touring program to include major international museums - launching Yokohama Museum of Modern art or National Museums of Kenya and then travel internationally to USA, Britain, Australia and Europe.
            5. Exhibition program every 2 years

- Rainmaker catalogue/book
            Published art works from the exhibition including artists profiles, YAP profile and critical essays by leading environmental, and art theorists published every two years. We seek funding to pay for curatorial staff to research, design and implement and tour exhibition from: 1. government agencies and 2. business communities and 3. corporate sponsorship

- Rainmaker art commission/prize
            Public art commission for all artists world wide to design a public art installation of any media to be given to Kenya as a gift of peace, to extend environmental awareness and peace. Time line every 2 years. Funding to pay for curatorial staff to research, design and implement and tour exhibition from: 1. government agencies and 2. business communities and 3. corporate sponsorship

- Rainmaker emerging art exhibition
            1. Open call to emerging artists (5 years after graduating or under 30) and student exhibition. International universities are invited to nominate 3 top students to the Rainmaker committee for selection in the Rainmakers Emerging International Art Exhibition.
            2. Exhibition focus to promote a new discourse about global and environmental issues. Rainmaker committee will select only 10 works to exhibit alongside the invitational international touring exhibition.
            3. Funding to pay for curatorial staff to research, design and implement and tour exhibition from: 1. government agencies and 2. business communities and 3. corporate sponsorship

- Rainmaker  conference and symposium
            1.Invitation for world leading environmentalists, scientists, anthropologists and theorists to present a discussion on sustainable environments - this would include the latest research in design and application. This conference could coincide with the art exhibition every 2 years which might include a publication of essays and papers for world publication.
            2. Young scientists and innovation for universities to present the latest in research technology theory.

Australian-Japan Foundation Sydney Studio:
            1.Time line 1 year
            2. Collaboration between Stephen Danzig YAP, Ryuji Enokida, David Sudmalis
            3. Present a one year program to highlight Australian and Japanese art practices and artist exchange in Sydney Australia.
            4. To present exhbitions workshops and live performances for Japanese and Australian artists
            5. To offer cross cultural partnerships, new networks for collaborative exchange
            6. Funding to come from Australia/Japan Foundation and government agencies.

            1.Present yokohama new media festival with publication (edited by IDAP to meet international publishing standards)
            2. intern program via IDA Projects

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Information about Rainmaker International Art Project please contact Stephen Danzig

Information for Yokohama Art Projects and Rainmaker in Kenya contact Ryuji Enokida