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Mar 09 2020

Hikaru Fujii and Chikako Yamashiro Win 2020 Tokyo Contemporary Art Award

by Kylie Yeung

CHIKAKO YAMASHIRO (left) and HIKARU FUJII (right) are winners of the second Tokyo Contemporary Art Award (TCAA). Image courtesy the artists and Tokyo Arts and Space.

Japanese artists Hikaru Fujii and Chikako Yamashiro were named winners of the second Tokyo Contemporary Art Award (TCAA). Each laureate will be conferred a cash prize of JPY 3 million (USD 29,200) on top of the JPY 1 million (USD 9,700) in funding disbursed over the next two years for overseas research and production expenses. A prize winners’ exhibition will be mounted at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo in 2022, accompanied by the publication of a monograph.

Based in Tokyo, Fujii is best known for his research-based video works exploring the social issues and histories of specific cultural contexts. His multi-channel video installation Playing Japanese (2017), for which he asked members of the public to enact scenarios representing Japanese identity, won him the 2017 Nissan Art Award. Fujii’s projects have been shown at solo exhibitions at Kadist in Paris (2019) and the International Studio & Curatorial Program in New York (2018), as well as group exhibitions including the 2019 Aichi Triennale and “How Little You Know About Me” at Seoul’s National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art.

Okinawa-born Chikako Yamashiro similarly uncovers lesser-known sociopolitical histories from her hometown and across East Asia through photography and film. The artist garnered widespread acclaim for her film installation Mud Man (2017), which is set on Okinawa and South Korea’s Jeju Island, two locations at the center of local controversies surrounding the presence of the United States military. This work won Yamashiro the 2018 Zonta Prize at the 64th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen as well as the 2017 Asian Art Award. The artist recently participated in a group presentation at the National Art Center in Tokyo (2019), and was nominated for the Asia Pacific Breweries Foundation Signature Art Prize in 2018.

The two awardees were chosen by an international committee comprising Yukie Kamiya, gallery director of the Japan Society in New York; Fumihiko Sumitomo, director of the Arts Maebashi museum; Doryun Chong, deputy director and chief curator of M+, Hong Kong; Carol Yinghua Lu, director of Inside-Out Museum, Beijing; Yuki Kondo, program director for Tokyo Arts and Space; and curator and writer Maria Lind. 

With many Japanese cultural institutions closed due to Covid-19, the date and venue of the TCAA award ceremony has yet to be confirmed. 

The prize was established by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Tokyo Arts and Space in 2018 to support Japanese midcareer artists. The inaugural winners were printmaker Sachiko Kazama and multidisciplinary artist Motoyuki Shitamichi.

Kylie Yeung is an editorial intern of ArtAsiaPacific. 

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