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Apr 04 2019

Sachiko Kazama and Motoyuki Shitamichi Win Inaugural Tokyo Contemporary Art Award

by Xuan Wei Yap

MOTOYUKI SHITAMICHI (left) and SACHIKO KAZAMA (right) have been named the winners of the inaugural Tokyo Contemporary Art Award. Portrait of Motoyuki Shitamichi by Satoko Imazu. Images via Tokyo Contemporary Art Award.

Sachiko Kazama and Motoyuki Shitamichi are the winners of the inaugural Tokyo Contemporary Art Award. The artists will each receive a cash prize of JPY 3,000,000 (USD 27,000), in addition to financial support for their overseas activities over the next three years, an exhibition to be held at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, and the publication of a monograph. Kazama and Shitamichi will be celebrated at an awards ceremony at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo on April 21. The two will also present their plans for their future projects at a symposium the same day.

Tokyo-based Kazama works primarily with woodblock prints, a medium she first took up 25 years ago. Her intricate and dynamic black-and-white works collage “past and present, fiction and facts,” while tackling gender roles, Japanese militarism and mechanisms of social control. 

Fascinated by archaeology and the past, Shitamichi is known for his photographic series “Remnants" (2001–05), depicting reminders of war in Japan, and “Torii (Gate)” series (2006–12), which investigates the vestiges of Japan’s colonial empire. Shitamichi will be a part of the upcoming group exhibition at the 58th Venice Biennale’s Japan Pavilion.  

Established by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Tokyo Arts and Space, the Tokyo Contemporary Art Award recognizes outstanding mid-career artists and aims to generate global awareness of their practices. The international selection committee for the 2019 award included Yukie Kamiya, gallery director of Japan Society in New York; Fumihiko Sumitomo, associate professor and director of Arts Maebashi; Doryun Chong, the deputy director and chief curator at Hong Kong’s M+ museum; Carol Yinghua Lu, director of Beijing’s Inside-Out Art Museum; and Yuki Kondo, program director of Tokyo Arts and Space.

Xuan Wei Yap is ArtAsiaPacific’s editorial intern.

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