Tokyo-based artist Ruri Clarkson will present her new work “IMPOSING WORDS – Contemporary family matters”, an exhibit that is raising issues about the place of women in contemporary Japanese society. 

The recent scandal of a young Japanese pop star – AKB48 Team B member Minami Minegishi – shaving her head in shame after getting caught spending the night with her boyfriend brought up a whole string of other issues, including how women are treated in Japan.

In that same vein, Ruri Clarkson is highlighting discordant keywords of contemporary Japanese family by using embroidery, a method closely associated with women. Some of those devaluing words which label women in Japan include 負け犬 makeinu, which literally translates to “loser dog” but refers to single woman without a partner, 婚活 konkatsu, which means marriage hunt and イクメン ikumen, meaning handsome men who help with child rearing – those are just a few of the words that get passed around by the media to spotlight the shift in domestic structure in contemporary Japan.

The idea seems to be to look at the way these words impose themselves on Japanese women with their overloaded meanings, blurring the separation between the ideal women should be, and how they truly feel. The artist examines and questions the usage of those words, and their (negative, most likely) impact on women’s lives. The venue will be set up as a home, with laundry lines running from wall to wall with artworks hanging from them.

Clarkson is a bit of a nomad, coming from four different countries, and exhibiting her work between Tokyo and Hong Kong. She also publishes a zine called “WHY WHY WHY”, which depicts similar issues in the form of photography, manga and writing. If you’re interested in learning more about embroidery, there is a special workshop on March 17th.

IMPOSING WORDS- Contemporary family matters

When: March 14-20

Where: Nidi Gallery (see map)

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