London, 20 June, 2023: The new wave of Japanese contemporary art continues to win over admirers across the globe, from Shanghai and Hong Kong to Paris and New York. What’s more, art lovers in London now have a golden opportunity to catch a glimpse of this vibrant explosion of colour, beauty and accessible meaning at the ongoing Onna No Ko exhibition at The Old Street Gallery in London’s Shoreditch. But they must hurry. The exhibition closes this coming Friday (June 23).
Curated by Tokyo Park founder Martim Barroso, the group show features the work of nine young and dynamic Japanese artists: Isayamax; Hajime Sakurai; Kaori Miyano; Yutanpo Shirane; Sekiya Kayoko; Someta; Syuka; Mayumi Konno; and Hinano Niimi. Together, these highly talented painters fuse a riot of colour with the freshest takes on Japanese popular culture, skilfully blending elements of manga, anime and Showa kitsch with their own very unique visions of beauty and particular paint palette prowess.
Not to be missed
While the show embraces a diverse range of styles, techniques and media, its unifying theme of femininity and the female form funnels these different approaches into a single whole far greater than the sum of its parts. For anyone with an interest in modern art, contemporary Japan or indeed both, this is a not-to-be-missed opportunity to witness what is truly happening right now in the studios and galleries of Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka and Hiroshima.
“Onna No Ko is an homage to humanity’s oldest source of artistic inspiration: women. An endless and beautiful theme that deserves the most contemporary Japanese perspective,” Martim says. “I wish to invite everyone to join me and explore the powerful subject that is femininity as painter, sitter and muse.”
New film to follow
As with Tokyo Park’s previous exhibition, Onna No Ko will be the subject of a music-driven film by Ninjin Art’s Ignatius Rake, the recent recipient of two silver medals at the 2023 Japan Indies Music Awards in Tokyo for his animated music video ‘Los Molinos’.
“It’s great to be working with Tokyo Park again,” Ignatius says. “There are very few people this side of Shibuya with such an intimate knowledge of contemporary Japanese art as Martim. If he’s curating the show, you know the art on offer is going to be the very best around. To say he’s got his finger on the Japanese art pulse is a massive understatement. I’m just honoured to be filming the best exhibition in London. Again.”
Onna No Ko will run every day between the hours of 10 am and 7 pm until Friday, June 23 at The Old Street Gallery, 62 Paul Street, London EC2A 4DQ.
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Notes to Editors
1) Onna No Ko (女の子) is Japanese for ‘girl’ or ‘girls’.
2) Martim Barroso is the founder of Tokyo Park Gallery, which specialises in bringing cutting-edge Japanese art to a wider international audience. Born in 1997 and originally from Portugal, he gained an academic background in History, Art History, Art Curation and Museological Practices at the University of Lisbon before moving to London in 2019 to pursue an MA in Art Business at Sotheby’s Institute of Art. Following a lecture on Asian Emerging Markets, he became increasingly focussed on Japanese contemporary art. Onna No Ko is his second curated exhibition and follows his previous show, Tokyo Colours, which was similarly staged in Shoreditch this past October. https://www.tokyoparkgallery.com
3) Ninjin Art producer Ignatius Rake specialises in making music-driven films, videos and animations. To date, he has worked with artists, bands and musicians in and from the UK, Poland and Japan, including SaiakuNana, Hinano Niimi and members of Madness and Dexys Midnight Runners among others. In 2022, he won a Special Award at the 12th Unco Film Festival in Tokyo and this past May 17 scooped two silvers at the 2023 Japan Indies Music Awards at the Shibuya Milky Way also in Tokyo. His music-driven video for Tokyo Park’s first exhibition can be viewed online at the Ninjin Art website here: https://www.ninjinart.com/video/#video-gallery-535b93f-1
Picture credits: Ignatius Rake/Ninjin Art. Top Picture: ‘Good Morning – E Mou Asa?’ (detail) by Miyano Kaori.
Interviews and high-resolution photographs available on request.