Sacred Monsters: Everyday Animism in Contemporary Japanese Art and Anime

Tufts University Art Gallery, Oklahoma, Medford, 09/10/2009 - 11/22/2009

40R Talbot Avenue


Participating Artists: Chiho Aoshima / Nobuhiro Ishihara / Kenjiro Kitade / Mahomi Kunikata / Tomokazu Matsuyama / Mr. / Oscar Oiwa / TOKYO KAMEN

This exhibition examines representations of mythical spirits, gods, monsters, and other mutant, sentient beings in contemporary Japanese art and film as expressions of animist belief through the work of eight emerging and mid-career artists. The theme is also explored through a complementary program of continuous anime screenings presented in the Gallery.

Many contemporary Japanese visual artists and animators incorporate animist beliefs in their work as cultural rather than religious expression. A shared iconography connects the artists and anime included in this exhibition, ranging from kami (gods) to yokai (monsters), sentient and non-sentient beings with supernatural powers, and hybrid mythical creatures. These traditionally Japanese representations - visible, tangible, and ubiquitous - actively dissolve boundaries between the living and the dead, the human and non-human realms.

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Tomokazu Matsuyama

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