Meet Ritsu Yoshino, Director of ACC Japan, at her home in Tokyo. “Welcome to my tiny apartment!” she says as she gestures to works by Cai Guo-Qiang (ACC 1995-2012) and Kimpei Nakamura (ACC 1970). Even as ACC staff work remotely, Ritsu is deeply attuned to the rhythms and movements of the ACC alumni and broader artistic community in Japan. “I see many of our grantees are seeking how they can restart their activities in the world of the ‘new normal,’ she says, “Some are trying to find a way by working together. Some are contemplating in solitude. It is tremendous work, thinking, researching, digesting, and formulating theories before creating some means of expression. I believe many of our ACC grantees in Japan are really utilizing and maximizing the value of this time and incident as a kind of trigger to create some new kind of paradigm or new concept to react to contemporary society."
"In this difficult situation," she says, "I see people seeking empathy and care. I really believe people cannot live without being associated with others, and also that we cannot live without arts and culture. The arts can bring us the power to overcome hatred and fear, and cherish the power of imagination, which of course leads to understanding difference and the unknown.” While each day is filled with unknowns, Ritsu is inspired by the artworks, initiatives, and “brave spirits” of ACC alumni. “I feel so fortunate to live in the same era with the grantees and ACC Family around the world,” she says, “and I’m kind of excited to see what is waiting in the new future.”