NIO-MON.COM


PROJECT NIO-MON 2021-2025


PROJECT NIO-MON IS AN ART PROJECT BETWEEN THE NETHERLANDS AND OKUIZUMO, YOKOTA, JAPAN.
A PROJECT ABOUT THE CREATION OF A GATE FOR TWO TEMPLE GUARDIANS THAT FOUND THEIR WAYS BACK HOME. IN THIS PROJECT THE PATH BEING WALKED IS AS RELEVANT AS THE GOAL.


PROJECT NIO-MON is a follow up on an art project called Issho-ni/ Tomo-ni, and is initiated by Dutch artist Jikke van Loon. In 2015 she travelled to the former home town of two magnificant Japanese Temple Guardians, nowadays living in the National Museum of Amsterdam. She went to say thank you to their former gate and home, the Niomon, that belonged to the Iwayaji area in Okuizumo cho, Shimane. This ‘Thank You’ resulted in a wider international art project of bringing home these Temple Guardians to their home town. A foundation in both Japan and the Netherlands has been established to enable the making of a gate, in both physical and non physical way, a Home for the returned Blue Temple Guardians.  
WHAT’S IN A NAMEWithin this project, three notions of MON (Gate-ness) play a combined role: gate (temple gate), platform and portal are an attempt to simultaneously designate one and the same entity in three different manifestations. We want to focus on the creation of these 'MON' and examine how functionality can be returned to the temple guardians. Again in coöperation with various institutes and participants in the Netherlands and Japan and the inhabitants of Yokota. We will focus on the notion of "gate-ness", using the original house of the two temple guards as a starting point to engage in workshops, Artist-in-Residence (AIR), exchanges and debates.

NIO refers to
1.) a ‘new’ (nio)- gate(mon)
2.) the house (niomon) of the new temple guards (Niōzo)





INTRODUCTION
In 2007 the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, acquired two magnificent statues: 14th century wooden Japanese temple guardians that, for more than 700 years, stood in the temple gate (Niōmom) of the Iwaya-ji, a then prominent Buddhist temple in Shimane ken, Japan

ISSHO-NI/ TOMO-NI: In 2019 we were able to help the Gaurdians return to their former hometown in Delftblue suits (see Issho-ni/ Tomo-ni) and now we want to help them find their ways into their former context: the Niomon, a temple gate, home to temple guards and a gate to wisdom...

Although the Temple Guardians returned home it was impossible to place them in their former house, Iwaya-ji's Niōmon. The gate is in a terrible condition and needs repair/ rebuilding.
As a result, the inhabitants are still unable to walk 'the field of wisdom' and the temple guardians were not given the opportunity to regain their specific functionality: giving acces to and being guardians of the field of wisdom.
Meanwhile an interest group has been formed to track down the owner of the land on which the current gate stands; after years of neglect, the area around the temple gate is now being cleaned regularly again, and the Yokota municipality recently laid a paved road to the temple gate.

YOKOTA
In Japan, residents of Yokota have joint hands and provided an impressive building for AIRs, debates and workshops (the Honmachi Kaikan).  In the Netherlands, too, several venues will serve as a base for workshops/rounds and debate.
By rebuilding and reconstructing the Niōmon and building a NIO-MON we want to create both a Home to the Delft blue temple guards and a Portal between people of the Netherlands and Japan.


Further reading on Yokota/ Shimane