British business could learn valuable lessons from Japan, which has a tradition of corporate philanthropy that views spending on creativity and the arts as a duty, according to sculptor Antony Gormley.
He was speaking on Tuesday as he was announced as one of this year’s winners of the world’s richest arts prize. He was named as the sculpture laureate of the Praemium Imperiale awards, a Japanese prize in its 25th year, which rewards fields of achievement not covered by the Nobel prize.
The other winners were Francis Ford Coppola for film, Placido Domingo for music, Michelangelo Pistoletto for painting and David Chipperfield (whose recent buildings include Turner Contemporary in Margate and the Hepworth in Wakefield) for architecture.
Gormley said there were a number of foundations in Japan linked to corporations, citing the Inimori Foundation and the Daiwa Foundation as “exemplary institutions”, which saw it as their duty to use some of their profits to support creativity in a wider way. “I think they are really inspirational,” he said.
In Japan, he added, there was an extraordinary number of foundations where there was “an absolute belief in the duty of corporate money to reinvest in a collective future. There are examples in this country but there could be more”.