Saturday, 2 May 2009

Japanese photographer: Miwa Yanagi

A visit to the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography in the chic district of Ebisu with a new found friend was a unsual experience. Unusual in three ways - we were thrown together by sheer coincidence, in Tokyo of all places; we both happen to have an interest in photography; and landed a rare opportunity to view an awesome exhibition.

The stunning photographs of Miwa Yanagi explore themes related to the roles of women in Japanese society, yet they reflect archetypal concerns of women in general. Mixing fantasy and reality, Yanagi conjures compelling visions using theatrical staging and mesmerizing color. In her short but explosive career she has created three series of works; Elevator Girls, My Grandmothers and Fairy Tales.

The exhibition that blew me away was called My Grandmothers, which was both captivating and thought provoking. Yanagi attempts to project the dreams of young women into the future 50 years forward. After talking with her collaborating models, the artist creates images depicting their personal visions of life in old age, accompanied by poetically evocative texts based on the conversations. The young models have been professionally altered by make-up and digital manipulation and, like all of Yanagi’s work, the images invite viewer speculation on their interpretation.

In your arms I used to listen to that song which I will play again tonight
Oh hazy moon
How many more nights are yet to pass for this desolation to cease

...I have only one wish... That somehow all the life forms that inhabit this island give birth to a new generation.
May you all become the buds of the earth.

TsumugiThe sounds I play are not for human ears. In late winter the plucking of the koto welcomes the spring. With a tap it reverberates, shaking the earth; the mountains awaken.

Ayumi..." She cannot wake up, Sir. For Grandmother is 'Sleeping Beauty' "

Miwa...Even in the most remote corners of the globe, I know that my offspring are there to be found...


I will craft the flesh of my next body with my own hands...

I felt a special affinity to each of these photographs and the poetic verse in various ways. Serendipity follows me again. BTW This is my favourite, although I love them all...


For the longest time I used to think, when I get old, I wanna relax in a hub of natural hot springs.

And so, after turning 70, I moved to Yufuin and chilled out for a few years as planned.

But after staring at the same paradise day in and day out, I started realizing how I wanted to get out of this little Eden and bounce somewhere far far away.

Obsessed with this thought, I hopped on a plane headed to LA without telling my family.

Thinking back, I must've died once in Yufuin, and come back to this world from the dead...

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