The New Photographer Award
Reason for award
For her exhibitions, “New Stories” (Irie Taikichi Memorial Museum of Photography Nara city, 2022) and “Countermeasures Against Awkward Discourses : From the Perspective of Third Wave Feminism” (21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa) and her recent diversified activities.
Born in 1972. Graduated from Nihon University College of Art in 1994. Encounters while staying in Taiwan after graduation led her to travel around Europe. Her original intention of traveling for two weeks became a year and a half visiting countries such as Estonia, Finland, England, France, Slovakia and Hungary. Her photography “Comment te dire adieu” based on various encounters and experiences won the Visual Arts Photo Award in 2004. The photography book of the same title was published from Visual Arts.
After coming home and life became stable, she began to feel frustrated. She went to New York on the 2007 Japanese Government Scholarship Program of Agency for Cultural affairs. Stayed there until 2012 after finishing the program, she released “Life Studies”, “Home Alone” (Dixon Place, NY, 2010) with snapshots of her experiences and children she had met. Around that time, she published the photography book “I don’t sleep” (AKAAKA, 2009) which contained photographs of her daily life when seeing her family in Hiroshima and encapsulating the feelings of distance she felt with her family members whilst there. Once she started living in Hiroshima, “I was confronted with daily reminders of Hiroshima whether I liked it or not”, she faced Hiroshima trying to “make history conscious through everyday life and led to the exhibition “Here goes River” (Nikon Salon, Tokyo, Osaka, 2016) winning her 41st Ina Nobuo Award. She won both the 27th Tadahiko Hayashi Award and the 43rd Kimura Ihei Award for the photography book of the same title, “Here goes River” (AKAAKA, 2017).
Her main solo exhibitions include“Comment te dire adieu”(Visual Arts Gallery, Tokyo , Osaka and other places, 2005), “I don’t sleep”(AKAAKA Gallery, Tokyo, 2009), “Life Studies 2”(Place M, Tokyo, 2014), “Ayako, and her metaphysical study” (Guardian Garden, Tokyo, 2017), “Ayako Ekoda Kibun” (OGUMAGU, Tokyo, 2022), “New Stories” (Irie Taikichi Memorial Museum of Photography Nara City, Nara, 2022). Her main group exhibitions include “DOMANI 2020” (The National Art Center, Tokyo, 2020), “Photographed Hiroshima: Everyday Light Image” (Hiroshima Prefectural Art Museum, 2020), “Art, with daily life” (Higashihiroshima City Museum of Art, 2020), “Countermeasures Against Awkward Discourses: From the Perspective of Third Wave Feminism” (21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, 2021).
I like to wander around, and since I’m not good at making decisions, I have a habit of leaving photos I’ve taken pretentiously without looking at them. In the last few years during the COVID-19 crisis, I grappled with how to work with old negatives lying around. I then became obsessed with exploring my own unconsciousness that was reflected in the photographs at that time.
There are some things that I’ve always liked photographing such as children and flowers. By collecting fixations that even I don’t quite understand, I may unexpectedly understand why I take pictures or who I am. “New Stories”, “Hana no Yukue”, and “Shiro no Monogatari”, which were born out of this thinking, were attempts to dismantle narratives that I had built up until now and reweave them on a new axis.
As I strolled through the past looking at old negatives, I realized that I’ve always approached photography like a student and sighed. It was at that time that I unexpectedly received the news of the Higashikawa Award for New Photographer Award, and it really uplifted me. My photos always look back and make myself doubt my productivity, but knowing people are looking at them keeps me moving forward. Above all, I’m really happy to think that I will be able to go to Higashikawa in the summer after receiving the award. Thank you very much.