Artist Shimada Yoshiko is a proponent of feminist-informed art in Japan. In this talk, Shimada presents a selection of her artworks that reflect on cultural memory—including Past Imperfect (1991–97), which examines Japanese women’s roles during the war; Made in Occupied Japan (1998–2000), which looks at military bases as sites for sex, violence, and power; Women in Camouflage (2002), which documents the daily lives of female soldiers in the military; and Becoming a Statue of a Japanese Comfort Woman (2012–ongoing), which responds to historical erasure through performance. In exploring legacies of war and occupation, Shimada proposes a practice of feminist art-making as a tool for self-examination, and to complicate the victim versus oppressor binary.
Shimada currently teaches a course titled “Art and Feminisms in Japan” at The University of Tokyo, where she presents a historical survey of modern feminisms through her own works. Drawing from this course, she introduces various transnational feminist initiatives that developed in Asia since the 1990s. These include the Gender Beyond Memory exhibition (1996), Womanifesto online exhibition (2005), and Feminist Art Action Brigade (2003–04). She asks how all-women’s exhibitions play different roles as tools to celebrate women’s rights, or as intervention strategies to explore art’s social potential.
Address: Hub (S710 - S711), Block A, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central (MAP)
Free and open to the public with registration.
Shimada Yoshiko (b. 1959, Tokyo) lives and works in Chiba, Japan. She graduated from Scripps College, USA, in 1982, and received her PhD from Kingston University, London, in 2015. Her works have been exhibited both nationally and internationally. In recent years, Shimada has been researching post-1968 art and politics in Japan. She has curated exhibitions, such as Anti-Academy (John Hansard Gallery, 2013), Nakajima Yoshio Syndrome (Atsukobarouh, 2015), and From Nirvana to Catastrophe (Ota Fine Arts, 2017), for which she wrote and edited the catalogues. She is currently working on the Matsuzawa Yutaka Archive in Nagano, and serving as Director of the Matsuzawa Yutaka Psi Room Foundation. She lectures on Japanese art and politics of the 1960s and 70s, and art and feminisms in Japan at The University of Tokyo.
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