Shadow Worlds, Debating Democracy in Japan: Biennial Conference of the Japanese Studies Association of Australia
Shadow Worlds explores artistic responses to the hidden, the subtle and the overlooked through installation, photography, textiles, video and sound. The exhibition title references Tanizaki Jun'ichirō's (谷崎 潤一郎) essay on aesthetics, In Praise of Shadows (陰翳礼讃) to evoke the ways in which art enables meaningful encounters with other realms, thinking and making. The exhibition brings together four women artist-researchers from diverse cultural backgrounds, who draw on their transcultural experiences between Australia and Japan. The artists in the exhibition have responded to their experiences in order to creatively unsettle the past and the present, while projecting alternative futures. The individual works make meaningful and often surprising connections between complex networks of geography and history, ideas, imagery, forms and materials. Shadow Worlds positions changeability as an opportunity that allows individual agency and a creative response-a space for interpretations and negotiations of what is being felt in the place. The exhibition offers an opportunity to engage with art works underpinned by abounding energy and imaginative rigour that respond to increasingly interlinked cultural contacts and influences, while revealing multiple points of entry to reflect upon our diverse encounters with issues that press upon people in the community and the environment. The exhibition accompanies the Biennial Conference of the Japanese Studies Association of Australia hosted by the University of Wollongong. The conference coincides with the 70th anniversary of Japan's Constitution, which came into effect on 3 May 1947 and marks seven decades of post-War democracy. The conference and exhibition are supported by the Office of the Vice-Chancellor, the Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation), the Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts, at the University of Wollongong, the Japan Foundation and the Sakura Network.