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JUNKO OKI Nous-sewing and living

25 May 25 September 2016
Group exhibition at 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan

installation view
Junko Oki, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan, 2016

“Nous” is French for “we.” It can mean “we women” or “we men.” When it comes to artistic creation and giving a form to one’s ideas, there are no distinctions between women and men. “Handicrafts,” nevertheless, was long primarily viewed as a women’s creative field, and many women in the past, when seeking creative expression in daily life, spontaneously took in hand not the paintbrush but the more familiar needle and thread.

Sewing is an activity filled with quiet thoughts and feelings. This is true whether one sews for one’s family in bliss or solitude, or joyfully for oneself. Then, the clothing born from that time has a power to communicate the personality of the wearer. Works created as an extension of everyday life often express fleeting, complex feelings hard to define. In our encounters with them, “we” viewers may find ourselves experiencing emotions we have been little conscious of before. This exhibition of works by five artists in our collection and four guest artists—nine women artists in all—will look at handcrafted work in connection with art and ponder the issue of gender.