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Okinawa: A Japanese Exception
© Mao Ishikawa

Okinawa: A Japanese Exception

Kenshichi Heshiki » Ryuichi Ishikawa » Mao Ishikawa »

Exhibition: 6 Nov – 29 Nov 2016

Le Plac'art Photo

12 rue de l’Éperon
75006 Paris

+33 1-43251511


Mon-Sat 13-20

Okinawa: A Japanese Exception
© Kenshichi Heshiki.


from november 6th to 29th at 12 Rue de l'éperon 75006 Paris.

Opening on thursday 3th at 6 pm

Okinawa : une exception japonaise

The subtropical islands of Okinawa are one of the great photographic destinations in Japan. Daido Moriyama, Araki, Shomei Tomatsu, Keizo Kitajima ... all the leading figures of Japanese photography have undertaken projects in the archipelago. However, despite this list of famous visitors and the growing popularity of Japanese photography around the world, few photographers from Okinawa have been presented on an international stage.This exhibition will reveal Okinawa’s artistic wealth through a series of rare books, magazines and photographic prints by its greatest photographic artists.

With a tradition of local craft perpetuated for generations in numerous fields – painting, sculpture, ceramics – the art of Okinawa is characterized by a search for simplicity, beauty, and the essential. This strong artistic tradition is associated both with the natural beauty of the landscape but also with the turbulent history since the US postwar occupation up until today which make the Okinawan islands such a magnetic and complex subject.

From the mid-1970s Okinawan artist collectives began to emerge, and in 1985 the magazine Bifuu by the photographer Kenshichi Heshiki. An entirely handmade “art brut” object with an original illustrated cover and cheap laser-printed paper, sometimes in black and white, sometimes in magenta, this is a singular object. Over the course of 5 years and 12 issues, this magazine featured work by a broad range of Okinawa artists, both on their native islands and also further afield, such as Mao Ishikawa’s series in Philadelphia which followed on from her legendary work on Camp Hansen, a portrait of the complex relationship between Okinawans and the US military bases and GIs.

Okinawa : une exception japonaise (Okinawa: A Japanese Exception) spans the history of the islands from 1970s to the present day, revealing a surprising new face of Japan, both strong and troubled, which has yet to receive the attention it deserves.

This exhibition is organized in partnership with Marc Feustel, author and expert in Japanese photography. It will include vintage prints by the photographers Kenshichi Heshiki and Mao Ishikawa as well as a selection of books on Okinawa made by Japanese photographers.

Text by Marc Feustel

Okinawa: A Japanese Exception
© Ryuichi Ishikawa. Okinawa City, 2011.