Six years have passed since Lieko Shiga came to Miyagi Prefecture.
This exhibition shows us the results of Shiga's attempts to integrate her surroundings and experiences with her photographic expression. Lieko Shiga's artistic practice has developed out of her visceral sense of unease with the coziness and automation of everyday life. Born in 1980, she has made her work both in Japan and abroad. Her first visit to Miyagi Prefecture was in 2006, when she was taking part in an exhibition at the Sendai Mediatheque. Since then she has returned to Tohoku countless times, each time seeking to foster an intimate relationship with this region. One day, in Kitakama (∗) , she discovered a pine forest that faces the Pacific.
Living in Kitakama, Shiga worked as the resident photographer, documenting festivals and other official events while also recording an oral history of the region. These experiences had a major influence on her practice. Shiga created each work as though her photography were inseparable from her own body? as if inhaling Kitakama's air as deeply as possible and then slowly, quietly breathing it out. This was not meant as a conceptual expression of Kitakama's character and individuality, but to reveal traces of physical activities connected with the land. Therefore, what one sees in Shiga's works is not an auteur's "answer" to telling the stories of Kitakama, but the revelation of Shiga's ongoing engagement with the larger questions she asks herself: What is the nature of photography as a medium? And what is the nature of living and expressing oneself on land? Perhaps these questions speak clearly to our society and its many problems.
(∗) Kitakama is the general name for Yashiki, Aza, Shimomasuda, Natori City, Miyagi Prefecture