The culture of ‘cute’ or Kawaii is a highly successful commercial tool, associated with ephemera and fashion, and as such is very attractive to the young. It is the exact opposite of the slow, highly crafted artefacts associated with traditional Japan. The most famous manifestation of Kawaii, ‘Hello Kitty’, has become a global brand with its own theme park in Tokyo.

The exhibition ‘Kawaii - crafting the Japanese culture of cute’ brings together 15 contemporary Japanese artists who are using traditional craft skills to translate, comment upon and engage with all aspects of Kawaii. The works reflect Kawaii’s commercial appeal to the pink princess in all of us, no matter what age or sex. They also allude to the transgressive, dark, and exploitative nature of sexual politics. Participating artists: Shin Enomoto,Yasuko Fujino, Gendai-bijutsu nitouhei, Ichizo Ino, Aya Kametani,Chie Kinoshita, Mikkiko Minewaki, Minako Nishiyama, Suzumi Noda, Chika Ohgi, Mina Okuhata, Chie Sakai, Mitsuo Toyazaki, Nobuko Tsutsumi, Yu Ushida.

For opening times please see the James Hockey & Foyer galleries page

Image by Mina Okuhata

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