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The Bondage of Costume 2015 - 2016

I started this work while living in Tokyo, processing the female experience while I observed it in the city. The single word I felt best described the culture of Japan was contradiction. (I did a lot of writing and a bit of research about it for the book Street Art Tokyo, Post Grafitti which will be published 2017.) A culture that exists in harmonious balance between ancient tradition and futuristic over-consumption, creating some very interesting ideals.

I became preoccupied by the lack of acknowledgment or perhaps deliberate invisibility of the contradictions regarding females. Initially I chose to highlight the duality of femininity, strength vs. fragility, freedom vs. enslavement and symbol vs. human. Costuming became a physical meditation for me on the mutation of our roles in society. Whether in the traditional kimono, school girl uniform or the ropes of a Shibari* master, these figures are restricted and ideas or archetypes are projected upon them. The paintings eventually dissolved the figure all together, demonstrating the power of the costume alone.  

* "In Japanese, “Shibari” simply means “to tie”. The contemporary meaning of Shibari describes an ancient Japanese artistic form of rope bondage. The origin of Shibari comes from Hojo-jutsu, the martial art of restraining captives. In Japan from 1400 to 1700, while the local police and Samurai used Hojo-jutsu as a form of imprisonment and torture, the honor of these ancient Samurai warriors required them to treat their prisoners well. So, they used different techniques to tie their prisoners, showing the honor and status of their captured prisoner." (http://www.artofcontemporaryshibari.com/)

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MikaRevell_Mural_Shojo-Shoji