【明報專訊】On the first day of Japan's Reiwa era (令和時代), the Setouchi islands were flooded with eager visitors. The extended national golden week has given families and friends a perfect opportunity to experience the first touch of summer together. Thoroughly enjoying the festivity entailed by the new era, people seem to be reminded of the forgotten bonding amid their mundane daily schedules.
Round the corner of the main road on Megijima (the ghost island), a small crowd gathered around a huge "weaving machine" to make their mark on what will turn out to be a colourful extensive fabric. Against a Chinese wedding backdrop, visitors from around the world tried to master mahjong — an iconic game at any Chinese banquet which seems to attract people of any age. Together with a photo exhibition by Leong Ka-Tai upstairs, this shop front makes up the Wedding Shop in Little Shops on the Island series at the Setouchi Art Triennale.
On certain days of the Chinese calendars when wedding is said to be auspicious, visitors can even conduct "fake wedding ceremonies" at the small shop. Whether to celebrate existing relationships with fellow visitors, or create new bonding through games, the shop has brought to the island a symbolic wedding of relationships, long missed among its ageing demography.
Among the young generation of Hong Kong, a Chinese wedding is a synonym for noise, crowd and hassles. Very few would consider it a privilege to follow such tradition. Yet, on an ageing small island in Japan, such a ceremony carries a different kind of meaning — a well wish for regenerated relationships. I guess, after all, the context makes the art.
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