Okinawa Graveyard Club: Films by Chikako Yamashiro

Tuesday, January 24 at 8 PM.

Chikako Yamashiro is a contemporary video artist and photographer based in Naha, Okinawa exploring the legacies of Japanese colonization in the nineteenth century; the brutal Battle of Okinawa of World War II; and the ongoing occupation of Okinawa by both Japan and the American military to the present. Most of Yamashiro’s practice utilizes her own body, serving to symbolize the situation of Okinawa. Still, her works cannot be neatly categorized as simplistic arguments of good and evil; the lyrical quality of her expression allows them to be interpreted in various ways, and in them one finds universal themes such as femininity and physicality, the connection between life and death, memory and storytelling.


Yamashiro’s recent exhibitions include: From Generation to Generation: Inherited Memory and Contemporary Art (2016-17, Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco/USA), SEVEN JAPANESE ROOMS (2016-17, Fondazione Carispezia, La Spezia/Italy), 2016 Aichi Triennale (2016, the former Meiji-ya Sakae Building, Aichi), the 8th Asian Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (2015-16, Queensland Art Gallery /Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane/Australia), East Asia Feminism: FANTasia (2015, Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul/Korea), MAM Project 018:Chikako Yamashiro (2012, Mori Art Museum Gallery 1, Tokyo). Selected publications include: Circulating World The Art of Chikako Yamashiro (2016, Yumiko Chiba Associates), Chikako Yamashiro (2012, Yumiko Chiba Associates).


Program curated by Kio Griffith. FILMMAKER AND CURATOR IN ATTENDANCE!


Doors 7:30; $5 admission.


Program Notes:

The night’s screening begins with “Okinawa Graveyard Club” (2004 / 6 minutes) in which Yamashiro dances in a garden fronting an Okinawan cemetery, contemplating and measuring up life and death, a side to side paradigm; In ”Your voice came out through my throat” (2009 / 7 minutes) she endeavors to recreate through her own mouth the stories told by an elderly Okinawans who experienced the bloody ground battle. An interpretation symbolizing the difficulty of passing down history over the six decades after the war. “Sinking Voices, Red Breath” (2010 / 6 minutes) is Yamashiro’s first fiction film in which she swallows and ingests an elderly man’s voice. At an intersection of reality and fiction, the internalized voice now embodied with flesh, rises above the ocean and produces itself in front of a woman who runs a meat shop at a black-market on the US base of Okinawa. The construction workers of the redevelopment of the island rush to the butcher in search of “meat”, devour the voices and inherit the memory of the dead in  “ A Woman of the Butcher Shop” (2012 / 21 minutes).


— Intermission —


“Mud man” (2016 / 23 minutes) a sequel to “A Woman of the Butcher Shop,” was filmed in Korea’s Jeju and Okinawa, with Japanese and Korean languages mixed, and the landscape of Jeju and Okinawa juxtaposed and blurring the distinction. Yamashiro focuses on the common history and political background of the two islands. Jeju, once a kingdom named Takura Tamura and Okinawa, formerly Ryukyu , both tossed around in their relationships with the mainland and the United States, including the campaign against the construction of the Korean naval base of South Korea. The meat that fell onto earth now births humans into remembering their voices.


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