HAPPENINGText: Amelia Ijiri

Bringing together photographers from around the world, the 10th edition of KYOTOGRAPHIE 2022 was held from April 9th to May 8th, 2022 at temples, galleries, and historically significant venues across Kyoto. Co-founders and co-directors, Lucille Reyboz and Yusuke Nakanishi, and the organizing committee chose “ONE” as this year’s theme, which is from the Buddhist saying “一即十” that loosely translates as “One is Ten, and Ten is one” — an apt name for this international photography festival that is celebrating its tenth year of bringing together diversity and individuality to create an inseparable whole. With over ten main exhibitions and many more satellite shows, this year’s highlights reflected the current issues that tie our fates together both domestically and globally.

Maïmouna Guerresi “Rûh | Spirito”. Co-organizer: Italian Cultural Institute in Osaka. SHIMADAI GALLAERY KYOTO

Maïmouna Guerresi’s “Rûh” was held at SHIMADAI GALLAERY, a Kyoto machiya with a 400-year history. Rûh, which is the Arabic word for “spirit,” embraces Guerresi’s “aesthetic syncretism” about her journey to the Muridiyya school of Sufism. Arabic, Western, and African motifs such as milk, light, hijabs, and plants offered personal close-ups of far-away places, while bright greens, cobalt blues, and whites contrast against the machiya’s dark, wooden, and windowless interior.

Maïmouna Guerresi “Rûh | Spirito”. Co-organizer: Italian Cultural Institute in Osaka. SHIMADAI GALLAERY KYOTO

An immersive set design by Erika Yamao brought visitors into a cobalt blue entrance with life-size portraits of hijab-wearing figures with plant “antennas”. This impactful use of color continued with another notable installation from Prince Gyasi in the Geisha area of downtown Kyoto.

Prince Gyasi “The Truth of Color”. Supported by Cheerio Corporation Co., LTD. ASPHODEL

“The Truth of Color”’s exhibition poster wrapped the exterior of the two-story gallery space ASPHODEL, commanding the quiet street’s attention with the image of two young African men hauling boxes on their shoulders. Mostly using his iPhone, Gyasi creates images of marginalized individuals whose identities are shaped by globalization, anxiety, and fragility often focused on the future in his hometown of Accura. Visitors delighted in bright, passionate, optimistic, and joyful scenes that relate to fatherhood, motherhood, and childhood. The atmosphere of the venue, which was designed by Hiromitsu Konishi (miso), heightened visitors’ senses, providing an experience analogous to the artist’s synesthesia neurological condition. Visitors participated not only in the African narratives but also with the sensory dynamics of the artist, taking selfies that added them to Gyasi’s world. In other venues, KYOTOGRAPHIE goers could escape to other places and times.

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