One year after the project call-out and we’re still in the midst of the pandemic, we’re happy to announce that the Amabie Project exhibition will take place from Saturday 19th of June – 3rd July 2021 at Pollen Studios, Belfast.
‘Opening’ Thursday 1st July 5-9pm – person in / out with a restriction of 6 (no booking required)
The exhibition will show Amabie (アマビエ) inspired artworks by 33 Irish and Japanese artists: Aimee Magee, Shiro Masuyama, Clinton Kirkpatrick, Chie Yamayoshi, Gerry Gleason, Katrīna Tračuma, Jim Ricks, Nagahata Tomohiro, Jayne Cherry, Christopher Campbell, Izuru Mizutani, Kathy Marshall, Martin Boyle, Taiyo Tono, Grace McMurray & Elin Watson, Zara Lyness, Chris Watt, Yuji Ota, Grace Fairley, Tesshin Iino, Sinéad Bhreathnach-Cashell, Molly Hendry, Shunji OHNO, Paul King & Niamh King, Yoshitaka Hirose, Deirdre McKenna, Keita Ando, Fionnuala Doran, Emile Braibant, David Frederick Mahon and Johanna Leech.
All other viewings will be by appointment only, please book here (if your bubble is larger than six that is ok to come together) 6 spaces per 30min slot. FREE bookable at EventBrite.
Saturday 19th June, 11-4pm
Wednesday 23rd June, 12-7pm
Friday 25th June, 5-9pm
Sunday 27th June, 1-4pm
Tues 29th June, 12-7pm
Thurs 1st July, 5-9pm ‘Opening Night’ no booking, person in/out kept to 6 people
Saturday 3rd July , 11-4pm
Some of the participating artists will be taking over Pollen Studio Instagram before and during the exhibition.
Amabie (アマビエ) is a legendary Japanese mermaid or merman with three legs and long hair, who emerges from the sea and prophesies either an abundant harvest or an epidemic. Amabie is a kind of monster or spirit known as yokai*. People around the world were embracing this somewhat obscure character in 2019 – 2020. Japanese have traditionally created yokai through a cathartic process of bringing fears and hopes out of the subconscious.
Lockdown fosters our imagination through escapism and fantasy, and characters like Amabie grab our attention, similar to the popular adoption of the Rainbow icon, started by children in the USA and now being used worldwide as a sign of camaraderie and hope during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Belfast has a strong connection with Japan hosting exhibitions, residences and exchanges with Japanese artists. Johanna Leech has curated a new project which embraces this connection during a time when the possibility of travel seems too distant by inviting local and Japanese artists to respond through the Amabie Project. This project would not have been able to take place without the support of Shiro Masuyama.
A small selection are on the @Amabie_Project Instagram and an online exhibition will be shown online in July. www.instagram.com/amabie_project/
* Yōkai are a class of supernatural monsters, spirits, and demons in Japanese folklore. Yōkai range diversely from the malevolent to the mischievous, or occasionally bring good fortune to those who encounter them, they often possess animal features yet others appear mostly human. Some yōkai look like inanimate objects, while others have no discernible shape. Yōkai usually have spiritual or supernatural abilities.