The Setouchi International Art Festival combines world-class art with revitalising the neglected island communities of Japan.

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It is difficult to know which is more surprising. The presence of a shimmering installation of mirrored glass coiled across the interior of a ramshackle old farm shed. Or the fact that at its entrance sits an unusually fresh-faced young girl with a straw hat and a pair of dungarees – a distinct anomaly in Japan’s ageing rural community where most people are pushing 80.

Azusa Takahashi, 23, is one of nearly 2,000 young volunteers who have been transplanted into the Seto Inland Sea area of Japan for the next 100 days to work on this year’s most adventurous new art event: the Setouchi International Art Festival.

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