Phtography Exhibition ‘Okinawa Soul’ by Mao Ishikawa

Date: 28 October – 3 November 2010
Venue: East Gallery, 214 Brick Lane, London E1 6SA
Organiser: Okinawa Association UK

Okinawa is the southernmost prefecture in Japan and is formerly known as the Ryukyu Kingdom. Okinawa has its own unique culture, lifestyle and history. Japanese influential artists, such as Daido Moriyama, Shomei Tomatsu, Nobuyoshi Araki and many others were attracted by Okinawa as their subject.’Okinawa Soul’ features three decades of photographs by Ishikawa, who has focused her lens on the lives of various people and subjects connected with Okinawa. Ishikawa’s wide range of subjects include series of Hot Days in Camp Hansen (1982), Phillipines (1989), A Port Town Elegy (1990), The Story of Nakada Sachiko’s Theatrical Company (1991), Fences Okinawa (2010), Hinomaru-Here’s What the Japanese Flag Means to Me and Self Portraits. Through the images, discovering the real life expands from the small island and it demonstrates Okinawan Soul (Spirits) which may answer to the question of why Okinawa was attracted by people.

The exhibition will include a talk from the artist on the opening night and presenting the documentary film of the artist’s work produced by Takayuki Higuchi during the exhibition. Her work will also be displayed which includes the recent book ‘Life in Philly’.

Mao Ishikawa was born in 1953 in Ohgimi Village, Northern part of Okinawa. She lives and works in Tomigusuku City, Okinawa, Japan. She studied at Shomei Tomatsu’s Photographic Workshop Tokyo in 1973. Mao Ishikawa returned to her native Okinawa and focussed photographing Okinawa and its people. In showing the true personality and internal feelings of her subjects just the way they are, her photographs express the strength of spirit that belies her somewhat soft and adaptable character. In her self-portraits she reveals herself without artifice. Not only is she well-known for her photographs but she also writes and lectures.

She has had solo exhibitions in major cities in Japan such as Tokyo, Osaka, Nara, Nagoya and at Cornell University in New York (2006). Group exhibitions were including together with Yoko Ono ‘Into the Atomic Sunshine’ at Okinawa prefectural Art museum (2009), The National Museum of Mordern Art in Tokyo (2008), ‘Okinawa Soul’ at Brown University in U.S.A. (2005), ‘The perpetual moment – Visions from within Okinawa and Korea’ at P.S.1 Comtemporary Art Center (MoMA – Museum of Mordern Art) in New York (2004), ‘Non-sect radical’ at Yokohama Art Museum, Kanagawa (2004), ‘Keep in Touch: Positions in Japanese Photography’ Graz, Austria (2003).

The works of Mao Ishikawa were acquired by Okinawa Prefecture Art Museum and Yokohama Museum of Art.


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