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A Festival that creates a “process” of change

True Colors Festival Executive Producer

Audrey Perera

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April 13, 2020

When I organized the True Colours Festival 2018 that took place in Singapore, we sent a message that it was important, whether with a disability or not, to focus on the individual’s talent and ability and not on what they can’t do. For True Colors Festival 2020 the message is broader, themed around inclusivity and humanity. We opened with a program in street dance (DANCE) and followed with multi-instrumental improvisation (BEATS) and jazz sessions (JAZZ) in parallel with educational projects like ACADEMY. I hope that these will breakdown borders between genres, cultures, and interests and encourage exchange between people.

In comparison to Singapore, which is a multi-ethnic nation, Japan is less ethnically diverse and thinking about themes such as “diversity” and “inclusion” will lead to significant changes. Experiencing the beauty of diversity through the arts is the starting point towards building an inclusive society. I hope it will become normal to take on the perspective of people with disabilities or LGBT that are part of the same community at work or at school.

Half of Singapore’s population does not have citizenship. Within the people who have citizenship some think that their work and living spaces are in danger because of the people who don’t. In a way it is natural to have fear towards the other. Therefore it is necessary to have forced interaction between different communities. Of course I don’t mean forced by power, but for example, to watch a film or performance together even if impressions are different, and to create occasions and spaces where everyone can emotionally laugh or cry. We cannot reach an understanding overnight, but the most important things is to have opportunities to know that even with our differences that we have something in common as people.

True Colors Festival is a project that Nippon Foundation has been developing for a long time under different names, and I see its purpose and meaning create a “process” of change rather than immediate change. However, I do think after 2020 the perspective on issues such as diversity and inclusion will change. We will need to observe and analyze this change genuinely and I would like continue to advocate for project like these while taking these things into consideration.

Text: Satomi Haraguchi


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True Colors Festival 2020/2021

True Colors Festival (TCF) presented by The Nippon Foundation is a series of performing arts events presented across geographies, in celebration of diversity and inclusion as “One World One Family.”

Through festivals since 2006 in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Singapore, and Japan, TCF has presented more than 1,100 performing artists from more than 30 countries and attracted more than 40,000 people.

The re-start of TCF 2020/2021 marks its commitment to tap on the power of the arts to connect artists and audiences in experiences such as music videos, film screenings, children’s programs, musicals, concerts, and workshops.

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