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Media Release

For Immediate Release | August 18, 2017

Eco-Anxiety – Holding a Deep Breath

The Japan Foundation, Sydney presents Eco-Anxiety, an exhibition considering uncertainty in the Anthropocene through the works of contemporary Japanese and Australian artists and designers.

Presented as part of The Big Anxiety festival, the exhibition features Kosuke Tsumura, Hiromi Tango, Ken and Julia Yonetani, and Yumi Umiumare.

The exhibition will be held at The Japan Foundation, Sydney from September 22 to November 4, 2017.


Eco-Anxiety – Holding a Deep Breath
September 22 – November 4, 2017

Eco-Anxiety presents contemporary Japanese and Australian artists and designers responding to the changing environment, to reflect the rising tide of shared (eco) anxiety, and ecological empathy, in the Anthropocene.

The Australian landscape serves as a sounding board and metaphor of internalised anxiety in works by Ken and Julia Yonetani, and Hiromi Tango, channelling an empathic dialogue of breath between plants, humans, and landscape.

A design response reflecting a societal concern for environmental emergency, Kosuke Tsumura’s FINAL HOME garments encapsulate ideas of ‘prepping’ as catalogues of personal identity for survival. Described as ‘philosophical fashion’, the garments can be pocketed with an evacuee’s unique inventory: from food and ID documents, to soft toys and precious mementos.

Drawing on butoh references, performance artist Yumi Umiumare’s AnxieaTEA Pop Up Tearoom invites contemplative audience engagements exploring eco-anxiety. Butoh’s awareness of human suffering and existential meaningless resonates in Umiumare’s tearoom, where the calming exchange over tea stirs deep thoughts.

Join us for the Eco-Anxiety opening reception on Friday, September 22 from 6:00pm.

Detail: Hiromi Tango, Insanity Magnet #4, 2009. Courtesy the artist and Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney.

Kosuke Tsumura’s FINAL HOME jacket. Photo courtesy of the artist.


PopUp Tearoom – AnxieTEA
By Yumi Umiumare
Friday, September 22 | 6pm – 8pm (Opening Reception)
Saturday, September 23 | 1pm – 3pm

一服いかがですか ? Would you like a bowl of tea? 
Yumi Umiumare’s PopUp Tearoom Series offers various experiences through the ritual of tea ceremonies, installation, and performance.

Audiences are invited to sit and have a bowl of green tea in Umiumare’s pop-up performances. The inspiration for this performance piece came from the traditional Japanese tea-ceremony room, which has a small doorway which requires people to bow to enter and exit. This symbolises the fact that all people are born from, and return to, the same place. The samurai of the medieval period had to leave their sword behind to participate in the ceremony, stripping back the experience to the bare essence of being and soul.

As long ago as the 16th century, tearooms were created in war zones, with the tea ceremony functioning to relieve emotional stress and restore social order. The deep sense of presence and silence afforded by the Tearoom offers participants time to pause and reflect amongst our busy life and daily rituals.

For Eco-Anxiety, Yumi will explore the concept of ‘AnxieTEA’, through various tea ceremony rituals, creating elements between the anxious and calm, sacred and profane, serious and absurdly funny.

Yumi Umiumare’s PopUp Tearoom Series. Photo by Vikk Shayen

School Holiday Workshop

BodyWeather and Butoh: Move, Imagine, Dance!
Saturday, September 30 | 11:30am – 1pm
Redfern Community Centre

Learn the basics of Japanese contemporary movement practice BodyWeather, which features elements of butoh. Celebrated dancer and choreographer Tess de Quincey will map the basics of BodyWeather movement principles in Move, Imagine, Dance!. Open to high-school students and young adults, this exploratory dance movement workshop will introduce a diverse palette of movement found in BodyWeather, which draws upon butoh practice, western dance styles, martial arts, and theatre influences.

Online bookings required. Bookings will be taken from 1 September 2017. More info coming soon.

Photo: Vsevolod Vlaskine


Hiromi Tango is a leading Japanese Australian artist working across performance and immersive installation environments, with a strong collaborative and community-engaged practice. Her textile based processes often draw out dialogues related to human connectedness and the empathic, healing potential of art. In 2017, Tango is presenting a major solo exhibition at Singapore Art Museum. She has exhibited internationally in group exhibitions and art festivals, as well as several solo exhibitions at regional galleries across Australia, and is represented by Sullivan and Strumpf.


Kosuke Tsumura is a Japanese fashion designer exploring concepts of defence, survival, containment, and identity. Tsumura’s distinctive experimental series, FINAL HOME, blurs the territory of garment design, wearable art, and architectural functions of shelter. Designed as the final ‘home’ for an individual during times of disaster (environmental or otherwise), the garments offer practical and emotional protection for the wearer. Tsumura is the recipient of Japan’s So-En and Oribe Awards, and has exhibited internationally, including the Venice Biennale of Architecture, Shanghai Biennale, MOMA, and at Documenta13.


Ken and Julia Yonetani are collaborative contemporary artists based in Japan whose practice addresses ecological issues at a global scale. Their acclaimed sculptural installations reflect the complexity and devastation of environmental deterioration with sensitive and poetic material engagements, such as salt, sugar, and uranium glass. Ken and Julia Yonteani have exhibited at the Venice Biennale, Singapore Biennale, and presented a large survey show in Europe at the 12th century Abbaye de Maubuisson in France.


Yumi Umiumare is an established Butoh dancer and choreographer. The Australian artist, born in Hyogo, Japan, has been creating her distinctive style of work for over 25 years renowned for provoking visceral emotions and exploring cultural identities. Umiumare’s works have been performed in numerous international festivals, and in dance, theatre, and film productions. She has worked with many socially engaged theatre projects in Australia with aboriginal communities, refugees, culturally diverse people, and a company of people with and without disability. Umiumare has choreographed a work for the Japan Contemporary Dance Network, and was the recipient of an Australian Council for the Arts fellowship (2015-16).


BodyWeather was founded in Japan by Min Tanaka and, besides being adopted internationally, was brought to Australia by dancer/choreographer Tess de Quincey in 1989. Drawing elements from eastern and western dance traditions, martial arts and theatre practices, BodyWeather opens doors to ancient knowledge and wisdom. As a former dancer with Mai-Juku from 1985-91, Tess de Quincey has a long and rich engagement with Japanese butoh dance and choreography.
As Tess describes, “BodyWeather is an invitation to explore the richness of your senses and the imagination of your body and mind.”

Editor’s Notes
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The Japan Foundation Gallery
Level 4, Central Park
28 Broadway, Chippendale 2008
(Access via lifts)

Gallery Hours

Mon-Thu: 10am-8pm
Fri: 10am-6pm
Sat*: 10am-1pm

Closed *Saturday October 21, Sundays, and Public Holidays (Oct 2)

Media Enquiries

Jessica Chow
(02) 8239 0055


All events are free. Bookings required for Bodyweather Workshop only.

Doors open 30 mins before the events start.

General Enquiries

(02) 8239 0055

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