Stranger in the Village
2019 Art Tower Mito, Mito, Japan

Stranger in the Village is a multi-media installation that uses narratives, storytelling and folklore to explore the dynamics of communities, migration and settlement. The project takes as its starting point Harold Offeh’s experiences of meeting settled migrants and members of the LGBT community during his residency in Mito, Japan in March 2019. Offeh uses African American writer James Baldwin’s short essay ‘Stranger in the Village’ as a framework for discussing the personal experiences of estrangement and integration of the settled migrants and the LGBT community in Mito.

The installation brings together these local narratives with historical and contemporary contextual material. Ranging from Japanese mythic and folk tales of the benefits and dangers of welcoming strangers to other global folks stories dealing with similar encounters. The installation seeks to bring audiences into a conversation with a history of narratives that map a diversity of experiences. The aiming to provide a perspective on the evolving issues of immigration and assimilation.

'Stranger in the Village' was commissioned as part of Art Tower Mito Contemporary Art Gallery's exhibition 'Publicness of the Art Center' a new program exploring from various perspectives the role required of an art center in today’s changing society.

(Images 1-5) – Ident and install
(Images 6-8) – Talk Performance
(Images 9-14) – Film stills

Photos: Yuzuru Nemoto

- Links

Publicness of the Art Center, Phase 1
Publicness of the Art Center, Phase 2