Blossom Blast 2017

Blossom Blast 2017

On Wednesday 1st March, I was lucky enough to attend the VIP and Press Opening Party for “Blossom Blast”, an all-female artist exhibition and feminist art collective that aims to raise awareness of female artists in Japan. It is being held around International Women’s Day on 8th March. The event was held at UltraSuperNew in Harajuku, one of our favourite galleries and event spaces in Tokyo here at Maction Planet!

The event kicked off with a speech from Daniel Harris Rosen from TokyoDex, with translation support from Miki Saito, the exhibition curator. Blossom Blast began last year, and has expanded this year into something more than an art exhibition. Representatives from Lean In Tokyo were there, demonstrating one aspect of this expansion. This year, Lean In and Blossom Blast are working together to hold seminars, with some big corporate names such as MetLife, to explore ways in which Japan can change its working environment towards women.

Miki Saito, herself an incredible artist, has curated the exhibition around the theme, “What It Means To Be A Woman” today. The participating artists were on hand to discuss their work. I was lucky enough to chat a length to Kit Pancoast Nagamura about her thought-provoking work “All I’ve done for you”. Other artists exhibited include Sabrina Horak, Rika Shimasaki and Hannah van Ginkel, who’s artwork has been flown from Germany for the exhibition! In the window of the gallery the have a ‘Rotating Easel’ with a different artists featured every day. On 1 March, that artist was Erica Ward

One of the most fascinating parts of the evening were the performances. “Tomorrow Girls Troop”, an art group dedicated to “sharing” feminism in Japan and Korea, held an awards ceremony of sorts.

Later in the evening we were treated to an incredible concert from Anna Sato. Anna is from Amami Oshima. Amami Oshima is the largest island in the Amami archipelago, located beween Okinawa and Kyushu, about 380km south of the latter. Having once been a part of the Ryukyu kingdom, the culture is very unique. The Amami language is classified by UNESCO as endangered.

Anna started learning Amami Shimauta (island songs) from her grandfather when she was three years old. She first came to Tokyo when she was 18 and debuted as a pop singer. Now she has gone back to her roots. The singing was haunting – Anna uses a falsetto that is unique to the island’s original folk songs, sometimes referred to as ‘the voice of escape.’ At Blossom Blast she used a traditional drum for her first song, and then sanshin for her second.

Greg Roustel and his incredible Me-Fie machine were on hand to take incredible photos of the attendees. The Me-Fie is a revolutionary machine that takes almost instant, studio quality photos. I have been fortunate enough to play around with it, and the results are absolutely fantastic!

Drinks were provided throughout the evening. I tried a couple of the Red Bull based cocktails – the Blossom Blast created especially for the evening, and a drink in a bag, imaginatively titled an ‘Energising Bag’, which looked made it look like you were hooked to an IV drip!

It was a honour to attend, and I am sure the event will go from strength to strength. We highly recommend you check it out! 

“Blossom Blast: An Exhibition Showcasing Emerging Female Artists in Japan” runs from 1 March to 18 March at UltraSuperNew GalleryOpen daily 10:00am to 7:00pm. International Women’s Day Reception Party is open to the public on 8 March from 19:00 to 21:00.

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