In October 2020, in collaboration with Asia Art Archive in America (AAA-A), PoNJA-GenKon is pleased to announce “Ponja Wiki Initiative” (PWI), calling for Fellows to act as “editors” (Wiki’s terminology for writers) to contribute Wikipedia articles focusing on post-1945 Japanese art history.

Introduction: In recent years, Wikipedia has become the established go-to source for information on an ever-expanding list of disciplines, including art history. The Museum of Modern Art’s Online Collection increasingly rely on Wiki for artist’s biographies, incorporating Wiki entries along with Getty records. The representation of Japanese artists and movements, however, is far fewer and far less substantial in terms of the number and length of entries than that of postwar and contemporary European and American art. This lack of presence and information on Wiki—the presumed absolute repository of knowledge—perpetuates the peripheral status of Japanese art within a global art history. The Ponja Wiki Initiative would be a multi-year project to address this imbalance of art historical information available online by recruiting emerging scholars to serve as trained Wiki “editors” (the distinct Wiki terminology, for the site’s focus on “editing” existing information for entries) in order to dramatically expand the number and length of entries on postwar and contemporary Japanese artists and movements.

These efforts would help to further expand the presence of the field while offering free access for a global online public to greater information on postwar and contemporary Japanese Art in the English language.

The goal for the first year is the total of 100 entries on artists, collectives, and movements that have been historically marginalized (including indigenous and diasporic queer/nonbinary-identified artists). They will be newly generated or expanded/edited from existing entries.

We hope this initiative will serve a model for how to initiate Wiki entries for other understudied and underrepresented regional fields of art history.

Motivation: This program is an emergency response to assist emerging scholars whose livelihoods have been impacted by COVID-19.

Method: This project will be organized by AAA-A and Ponja and overseen by an Editorial Committee whose members are Jane DeBevoise, Alexandra Munroe, Miwako Tezuka, Ming Tiampo, and Reiko Tomii.

See “Call for Fellows”

Reiko Tomii (Ponja), Project Director + Hilary Chassé (AAA-A), Project Manager