On Saturday, July 11th, downtown Los Angeles’ Corey Helford Gallery will proudly unveil a series of all new works by Japanese painter Hikari Shimoda, entitled Silence and Affirmation, in the Main Gallery.
Shimoda arrived onto the international scene in 2014 with her U.S. exhibition Fantastic Planet, Goodbye Man at CHG, introducing her ongoing series entitled “Children of This Planet” and “Whereabouts of God,” and since then she’s become one of the most widely recognized names of New Contemporary painters rising out of Japan. Sparkling and sweet, Shimoda’s work is at once enchanting and disarming, portraying a world where cuteness and horror coexist. Her portraits of children are full of countless possibilities. She describes them as “where fantasy meets with reality, past meets future, life meets death, and a world that is yet to be reborn. Not only do eyes communicate each character’s personality, they are also a reflection of the artist’s own feelings and ideas.”
Regarding her new show Silence and Affirmation, Shimoda shares: “2020 has been an unforgettable year of drastic change for our world. Many problems and issues, which the world has ignored for a long time, have been brought to light. I believe deep-rooted social problems pose a risk of undermining individual identity and bring out anxiety, which asks human beings to consider the meaning of their existence. I’ve focused on creating works for this solo show for a year. It was a year ago that I started to reconsider my own existence and continued to think about how humans should be. During this time I learned the power of ‘yes’ or affirmation. This word is used by Japanese artist Yoko Ono in her 1966 conceptual artwork, entitled “Ceiling Painting/Yes Painting,” which she described as being representative of a journey towards hope and affirmation from pain. I also choose this word for the theme of my solo show. I’m praying for a world where we human beings are not bound by any of our physical attributes and to be affirmed as we are. There’s another word in my show title – ‘silence.’ I picked this word to state the idea of an unbreakable soul. Nobody can conquer or violate another person’s heart.
From silence to affirmation, these works are a glimpse of the world from my own point of view; to respect one another’s souls, and affirm our existence, free from judgment. It’s a message to the world from deep inside of my heart.”
Silence and Affirmation opens Saturday, July 11th in the Main Gallery, alongside ONCH’s Sweet 16 Group Show, co-curated by designer Onch, in Gallery 2 and a solo show from Tina Yu, entitled A Journey, in Gallery 3. Corey Helford Gallery is located at 571 S. Anderson St. Los Angeles, CA 90033 and normal hours are Tuesday – Saturday, from 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm.
About Hikari Shimoda:Based in Nagano, Japan, Shimoda first studied illustration at the prestigious Kyoto Saga University of Art and Aoyama Juku School before beginning her career as a professional contemporary artist in 2008. Soon after, she was selected for her first solo exhibition at Motto Gallery in Tokyo and has since held exhibitions in galleries worldwide, including Japan, the U.S., Canada, and Europe.
Inspired by the Japanese manga and anime from her youth, Shimoda’s work expresses modern day issues in colorful and illustrative techniques. Often depicting starry-eyed children, she dresses her characters in heroic costumes resembling Superman and magical girls, an anime sub-genre of young girls who uses magic, revealing problems and struggles in contemporary society through a juxtaposition of brushwork, text, and collage. Such characters are a commentary on Christianity’s anointment of Jesus Christ as a savior of humanity, and a mirror of our fantasy heroes. They also represent our adult desire to nurture the children of the world and to defend the world we have constructed.
Following the Great East Japan Earthquake and accident of Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant in 2011, Shimoda became increasingly interested in various connections in the world. In her portrait series “Whereabouts of God,” featuring other-worldly children adorned with a Chernobyl necklace, and “Children of This Planet,” children act as a blank canvas for what she describes as countless possibilities; where fantasy meets with reality, past meets future, life meets death, and a world that is yet to be reborn. Not only do eyes communicate each character’s personality, they are also a reflection of Shinoda’s own feelings and ideas:
“They are “anyone” who just exists. So, they could also exist beyond the realm of being children and identify with anyone who might appreciate them. Those children who are wearing a vacant expression of despair and solitude are mirroring the emotions of the people who look at them. Those vacant children are, so to speak, ‘cups of my emotions’ – something which I could pour my emotion into. Their sparkling eyes are staring into space, while reflecting both light and darkness, and those horns are a metaphor of wordless emotions like fury and despair that people feel towards unreasonable things in this world.” With each new piece, Shimoda advances her search for salvation and her deeper understanding of this chaotic world.