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The 25th “1_WALL” Photography Competition Grand Prize Winner

Hinata Okazaki Solo Exhibition: “Seeing the Past in the Present, for the Future”

  • DATES : Tue. May 23 - Sat. June 24, 2023
  • HOURS : 11:00a.m.-7:00p.m.
  • Closed Sundays. Admission free.

    On May 9, Friday the gallery will close at 6:00 p.m. in order to prepare for that evening’s Talk Event.

    * Inside the gallery, all visitors are requested to submit to a temperature check, sanitize their hands, wear a face mask, and maintain a social distance of 2 meters. Persons with any of the following symptoms are requested to refrain from visiting: fever (above 37.5℃), cough, sore throat, general fatigue, etc. Visitors are also requested to take all necessary precautions to protect against infection while en route to the gallery.

Hinata Okazaki won the Grand Prize in the 25th “1_WALL” Photography Competition for “Shimmer on Water,” in which she photographed the small village (population: 1,942) in Wakayama Prefecture where she was born and raised, her focus directed on what is gradually being lost as a result of urbanization. The judges applauded the strength of Okazaki’s photos, which have an appeal transcending words, as well as her ability to select photographs with unerring sense.

In her solo exhibition, Okazaki will show her photos gleaned from the everyday lives of the people who live in her hometown village and surrounding villages: a close-up of the mouth of a horse ridden in the horseback archery (yabusame) event at the local festival; a man burning the festoon decorations from the o-bon holiday; people gathered to take the first swim of the season; a fisherman holding up a crab against the backdrop of the dawning sky; a child heading toward a festival, dressed in a mawashi loincloth. From Okazaki’s photos we can see how, even today, Japan’s ancient culture and beliefs remain deeply rooted in people’s lives; how they enjoy the blessings of the sea, mountains, forests, rivers and living creatures; and how they live by sharing and aiding one another. Okazaki, who knows both the urban landscape of constant change and the village where culture continues unchanged, aims, by making renewed awareness of Japan’s ancient culture and photographing village life in the present, to pass on to future generations the culture she holds so dear.

Visitors are sure to enjoy seeing what Hinata Okazaki has created in the year since she won the Grand Prize. During the exhibition, a Talk Event will take place on June 9 (Fri) with Okazaki and her guest, photographer Nao Tsuda.

Hinata Okazaki

Born in 2002. Currently enrolled in the Department of Photography and Communication (Photography Exp...

Message from the Artist

Even at this moment, phenomena, including fleeting ones, continue to occur around the world. On each occasion I sense the presence of gods, and I connect with them using photography as my tool.
Today, I create with a focus on the depopulated area of Wakayama Prefecture where I grew up, my theme being changing immutability.

The scents of the sea and greenery come to me, riding the wind in the form they were meant to be, and the form I want them to be.
This complex process, taking lives from the earth, sharing them, and transforming them to capital.

Beasts, plants, people, fish, sea, mountains…. What do all living creatures see, and where are they going?

The status quo in which one is weeded out unless one changes form in keeping with the times, and the need to maintain it.
In this way, what we hold dear today is gradually transforming and changing in appearance. From the gap between change and universality, using photography I proclaim images and truths.

Hinata Okazaki

Message from One of the Judges

The Grand Prize winner of the final “1_WALL” competition, an ongoing event since 2009, was Hinata Okazaki, who, at 20, was the youngest winner ever. She left her remote mountain village in Wakayama Prefecture, where ancient customs and rituals remain, to learn photography in Tokyo, a change she says inspired her to take a new look at the hometown so familiar to her. Her lens is directed at its mountains and rivers, at the everyday workings of the community tied to the sea, and at the people who live while keeping their close ties with Shinto and Buddhist deities and ancestors. In the snap photos she captures in an instant, the accumulated times from the past also appear like visions in double exposure. One might also say she skillfully captures moments when linear time wavers and a different time frame suddenly invades. The skill with which Okazaki links one image to another image that isn’t there, is like that of a seasoned snap shooter. Here too is a budding artist of the kind the “1_WALL” series aimed for.

Masashi Kohara

Organizer: Guardian Garden