On September 9 and 10, the third edition of the Sidewalk Comics Festival was held in Ome, a small town in the Franciacorta area in the province of Brescia. The event, connected this year to the Kaki Tree, is a remarkable example of how essential it is to broaden one's horizons and devote time and interest to cultures other than one's own.
Therefore, on the occasion of the upcoming twinning between the Italian town of Ome and the Japanese Ome area near Tokyo, this culturally important event was organized; local streets, stores and squares were set up as fairgrounds, many of them used as stalls for speeches and discussions given by experts.
The Kaki Tree Association, mentioned earlier, is dedicated to the worldwide dissemination of plants born from the famous persimmon tree that survived the atomic bombing of the city of Nagasaki during World War II. Accompanied by the Botanical Garden of Ome, the Fujikai Association of Brescia and other collaborators, the Kaki Tree project was thus both the protagonist and inspiration for the event. The idea of proposing the subject of the Rising Sun is a novelty of this last edition; in fact, artistic director Pietro Arrigoni confirmed, during the days of the event, that he had obtained very positive feedback from participants in this regard. The concept of "conversing" with Japan is, undoubtedly, of great interest to various different targets: young people often approach the East through manga and anime, while older generations tend to be fascinated by Eastern philosophy and Japan as a tourist destination.
The two-day festival, therefore, saw a large number of discussions and presentations to attend, as well as a considerable number of exhibits to view: comic books, kintsugi art, sake tastings, and staged readings. There were dissertations devoted to the most diverse or niche topics possible, from the art of the katana to choosing the perfect kimono button, as well as the culture of the tea ceremony and the current situation of hikikomori.
Undoubtedly, there was no shortage of events dedicated to creativity. For example, artist Omar Rossetti presented the project "The Comic Shoes Kaki Tree": a series of shoes decorated with the representation of life during the bombing of the last century - "I tried to tell, through a series of frames, the moment when 78 years ago the second atomic bomb in history was dropped. It left behind an inferno of debris, ash and destruction of all life." The picture book "Hibakujumoku" was presented as well, curated by Dr. Michela Forzanini.
Having such a profound predisposition for the dissemination of art, the festival aims to be a point of reference for updating oneself creatively, learning something new and discovering points of view never considered before. We believe that in the years to come this event will establish itself as a valid manifestation of the human impulse toward the new, toward the need for creative expression. The presence of more and more artists could only benefit the development of the event; having the opportunity to poke around in the reality inherent in an artistic mind is a priceless experience.
In order to intrigue the town audience, it was asked to spread the word about the festival within the cosplay community, so as to enrich the experience of the participants, who were confronted with a reality unknown to them. Being a still small festival, the attendance of cosplayers was small, but the presence of these performers certainly intrigued spectators, young or old. I had the opportunity to attend both days as one of these cosplayers, and I have to admit that it was a heartwarming experience; we have become accustomed to being in environments where the novelty of our passion is no longer surprising, it is simply the norm, or worse - reasoning that being able to tell people from outside the field about this activity allowed me to be reminded of how exciting the world of cosplay is, of the effect it has on fans of the subject, on the little ones, and on those who have always felt out of place.
Hoping you were intrigued by the article, we invite you to keep an eye on social media to find out the upcoming dates of the Sidewalk Comics Festival!