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Storymakers Exhibition Opening Reception

Opening Reception & Performance

July 29, 2022

Join us for the opening reception of Storymakers in Contemporary Japanese Art, a group exhibition featuring five contemporary artists from Japan. The works featured dive into a world of fantasy and wonder, reimagining personal and communal stories by transforming the fairytale genre. On this very special occasion, artist Tomoko Kо̄noike will present a live performance, and will sing a folk song from Akita Prefecture in northeastern Japan, where she was born. The song is called Nagamochi-uta, which literally translates to ‘song of the trousseau’, and is still sung in Akita today by a father at his daughter’s wedding. This is the song sung by the artist in her video work Moon Bear Goes Upstream, which is shown in the Storymakers exhibition. The English translation of the first two stanzas goes as follows:

Like a butterfly or a flower, I have tended you, my daughter
Today, I have to hand you to someone else

Do not miss your hometown, my daughter
Your hometown is only a temporary abode


Tomoko Kōnoike (b. 1960, Akita) was involved in the planning and design of toys, sundries, and furniture, and these activities have carried over into the present day after graduating from the Department of Painting (Japanese Painting) at Tokyo University of the Arts, she Even as she employs several kinds of media—animation, illustrated books, painting, sculpture, songs, photography, handcrafts, or fairy tales—she has participated in many interdisciplinary sessions with people in other fields, created site-specific works that incorporate descriptions of a region’s climate and terrain, and continued to address primordial questions about art. Her major exhibitions include Jam Session: Ishibashi Foundation Collection x Tomoko Konoike Tomoko Konoike FLIP (ARTIZON MUSEUM, Tokyo,  2020), and Inter-Traveller (Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery, Tokyo, 2009). Her major travelling exhibition The Birth of Seeing will open at Takamatsu Art Museum, Kagawa, in July 2022.

Exhibition Info

Storymakers in Contemporary Japanese Art dives into a world of fantasy and wonder through a selection of works by five contemporary artists from Japan. Storytelling has a strong presence in contemporary Japanese art, with the significance of sharing and reimagining both personal and communal stories becoming increasingly evident in the wake of major natural and human-caused events. The fairy tale, a genre of narrative that has long told stories about nonhuman beings and non-living things, can give us clues to imagining a more-than-human world that transforms the way people perceive and experience life.

Curated by Emily Wakeling and Mayako Murai, the artworks in this exhibition, with their re-workings of materials, formats and corporeal experiences, revisit old familiar stories in new forms to transcend the anthropocentric worldview. It is this view that has made the modern world blind to vital connections humans hold with the earth and all its inhabitants.

CLICK HERE for more information on the exhibition


July 29, 2022 (Friday)
Opening address and live performance at 6:30pm

The Japan Foundation, Sydney
Level 4, Central Park
28 Broadway, Chippendale NSW 2008

Free; bookings not required


(02) 8239 0055

Header image: Tomoko Kōnoike, Original Illustrations for Mimio, 2001


Storymakers Program

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