ART LAB OVA (Yokohama)


Open art space, local community interaction, special art/dance/etc. events

3-51-3 Wakabacho, Naka Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture 231-0056

Open daily from 3pm (except Monday and Tuesday)

ART LAB OVA has been working in Yokohama since 1996, first as a small space in a three-story block, and now as a street level open space next door to Yokohama’s only independent cinema Jack & Betty, in Wakabacho. ART LAB OVA is a very interesting and friendly art space where various local people pass through and different events take place, working with all kinds of people. The owners Zulu (Kageyama)-san and Kuri (Suzuki)-san run the small space each day, which is now shared by a man serving Brazilian BBQ and a contemporary dancer.

For an in-depth and excellent background to the ideas and thoughts of the owners of the project, please read the discussion with Emma Ota-san (of Kosaten) in the digital publication of Art In Context (p206-219) from the Goethe Insitute in Malaysia. This talks more about the ambiguity of the space and its specific local context.

20160821-IMG_2793  with Eijiro Miyama2015

The area around ART LAB OVA has a large foreign-background population, including many children. Many of them stop by the space after school. Especially those of East and South-east Asian background. The space provides a meeting spot for those who may not have much to do after school. In the previous office block location, many people with intellectual disabilities came by to use the art materials there freely or just be there with the others. Still now some of those same people stop by to create art. Like Cocoroom in Osaka, different kinds of people can be found in the same location and thereby have new interactions or experiences.

Each year one big event hosted by ART LAB OVA is a multicultural cinema festival, Downtown Paradise Festival. It celebrates the local cultures, whether Thai or Filipino or, as in 2017, movies from around the world. Unusual events match up with the festival introducing the local area to participants. ART LAB OVA also created its own documentary with local children from different cultural backgrounds which screened next door. The same children watched and created their own narration by shouting out over the various parts they recognised.

photos courtesy of ART LAB OVA

If you would like to visit, just drop by and have a conversation, or look into the facebook page (mostly Japanese) for upcoming special events which sometimes take place; burlesque or dance or post-film discussions from the cinema next door. ART LAB OVA has a flea market outside the shop and drinks, music and books inside. You can buy drinks, eat something from the Brazilian BBQ and stay awhile, this would also help fund the other activities. People there can speak English fluently. It’s a casual place so feel free to take a look. You can combine a visit with a film at the cosy Jack & Betty cinema next door.


Downtown Paradise Festival 2017