Projects / Seven Samurai


Seven Samurai developed from an invitation to contribute to the 2006 Echigo-Tsumari Triennale, and an invitation from the remote mountain village of Toge to help them with the influx of Triennale tourists visiting their rice farming community.

The title and curatorial premise of the project derived from the seminal film by Japanese director Kurosawa. The project attempted to assist the village and to help generate a sense of self-determination now scarce in the aging community of Toge. The artists lived and worked in the village for a month before taking part in an art festival in Tokyo. The villagers joined the artists there as performers and in the presentation of a village market dedicated to their artist - rebranded rice.

The programme continued in 2007 with a return visit to the UK by seven of the Toge village farmers who helped develop the Lawson Park farm (creating a series of terraces now called "The Paddies") and ran a wild food cookery workshop attended by chefs from top local restaurants including Sharrow Bay and L'Enclume.
The visit concluded with a successful one-day Japanese Country Cafe in Coniston village, focusing on local wild food, in particular bracken, the ubiquitous wild fern of the Lakeland fells.