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This image shows a dark gallery with a video projection. In the film we can see a young person stood behind a bar, with two empty chairs pulled up on the other side.

Chikako Yamashiro

Chinbin Western

21 August - 21 November 2021

This project marked Japanese artist Chikako Yamashiro’s first exhibition in Scotland and was guest-curated at DCA by Kirsteen Macdonald.

Yamashiro’s work spans performance, filmmaking and photography, often employing her own and other bodies as vehicles through which to carry stories from overlooked or unheard voices.

Three feminine people stand leaning against a wall, smoking. One wears a vest and demin shorts, showing tattooed skin. Two have curly hair and cowboy hats on, with fringed demin vests and leather shorts, straddling hobby horses, as though taking a break from performing in a show.

Much of Yamashiro’s research considers the reality of living in the Pacific island of Okinawa, a Japanese prefecture comprising over one hundred islands in the East China Sea between Taiwan and Japan. These islands have remained central to both American and Japanese security interests following World War II.  The entire region remained under U.S. administration until 1972, and American military bases still occupy much of the lands, skies and seas today. The geopolitical situation and history of this place, where the artist was born and still lives, is a major influence on the motivations and parameters of her artistic practice.

At the centre of this exhibition, set amongst other selected works, was the European premiere of Yamashiro’s film Chinbin Western: Representation of the Family. This richly imagined artwork takes the form of an allegorical tale that weaves together comic satire, mining landscapes, opera, traditional Japanese theatre and domestic lives.

This exhibition, and Yamashiro’s work in the broadest sense, focused on marginalised voices, bodies and souls in the East Asian region, addressing universal subjects such as identity and historical memory through uniquely poetic imaginings.

Curator's interview | Kirsteen Macdonald on Chinbin Western

This image shows a dark gallery with a video projection. In the film we can see three figures in traditional Japanese clothes, posed in a quarry-like setting with loose pale rocks and weedy plants.

About the artist

Chikako Yamashiro (b. Okinawa, 1976) graduated with an MA in Environmental Design, Graduate School of Formative Arts from Okinawa Prefectural University of Arts in 2002.

Her recent exhibitions include the group exhibitions Image Narratives: Literature in Japanese Contemporary Art at the National Art Centre, Tokyo, in 2019; a new performance And I Go through You and exhibition of Mud Man for Kyoto Experiment 2018: International Performing Arts Festival, Kyoto Art Centre; Post Trauma at Jeju Museum of Art, Korea and From Generation to Generation: Inherited Memory and Contemporary Art at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco, USA, 2017. She exhibited in the 2016 Aichi Triennale and the 8th Asian Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art at Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia in 2015. Her solo exhibition, Reframing the land/mind/body-scape, will open at the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum in August 2021.

Yamashiro was awarded the Tokyo Contemporary Art Award 2020-2022; the Zonta Prize for female filmmakers at the 64th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, Germany in 2018 and the Asian Art Award supported by Warehouse TERRADA in 2017.

This exhibition was supported by the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation and the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, with thanks also to Yumiko Chiba Associates, Tokyo.

DCA's 2021 Exhibitions Programme was been supported by the William Syson Foundation.

Exhibition Notes

 Listen to an audio version of the Exhibition Notes for Chikako Yamashiro: Chinbin Western here.

Click here to download the Exhibition Notes for Chikako Yamashiro: Chinbin Western
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Exhibition images

This image shows a dark gallery with a video projection. In front of the screen, a person sits on a low bench watching the film with their back to us. In the film, the face of an older woman is shown close up. The person is looking at their index finger, but we can only see part of their hand to the left side of the screen,
Photography by Ruth Clark.
This image shows a dark gallery with a video projection. In the film we can see a young person stood behind a bar, with two empty chairs pulled up on the other side.
Photography by Ruth Clark.
This image shows a dark gallery with a video projection. In the film we can see three figures in traditional Japanese clothes, posed in a quarry-like setting with loose pale rocks and weedy plants.
Photography by Ruth Clark.
Three feminine people stand leaning against a wall, smoking. One wears a vest and demin shorts, showing tattooed skin. Two have curly hair and cowboy hats on, with fringed demin vests and leather shorts, straddling hobby horses, as though taking a break from performing in a show.
Still from Chinbin Western