UNKNOWN ASIA 2017

HAPPENINGText: Taketo Oguchi

The Art Fair Unknown Asia 2017 was held in Herbis Hall, Osaka on the 4th and the 5th of November. This is the third year of the annual event and about 200 young creators/artists in Asia – from Japan, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippine and Vietnam – showcased their works. The fair attracted about 5000 visitors, proving its growing popularity.

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Unknown Asia is not just a normal art fair. Many judges and reviewers from creative industries or galleries vote for their favourite artist, and the winners will receive help and support to get more exposure and publicity as an artist. This is one of the key characteristics of this art fair. This is the second year that I (chief-editor of Shift magazine), joined the preview as a judge. There were a lot of young, unique and dynamic artists so it was very difficult to choose for whom to vote. 
Now, I would like to introduce some of the artists I found especially riveting.

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Emiko Kojima is a jewellery artist who works and lives in Osaka.As well as the products for her own jewellery brand ‘PRISM’, she also presented more experimental art pieces and accessories. Although still naive, the quality of her work is much more accomplished this year. Participating in this kind of art fair is very important to get more recognition.

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Meri Maeno makes embroidery pieces. Her surreal but also heartwarming illustrations are her signature style. She free-hands her embroideries – never making drafts – she says that she herself would not know how her the work turns out until it is done. For this art fair, she did a live performance of embroidery which attracted a lot of people.

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Evelyn Pritt, photographer and artist, works mainly in Jakarta and Bali. She seeks to visualise things that happened around her or thought that is hard to grasp. The base colour of her photographs are mostly blue, black or white and it captures nature like land and sky. Her work is mysterious and beautifully atmospheric.

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