mayu kanamori

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works in progress


in repose

Townsville – Thuringowa Cemetery
In Repose is a site-specific collaborative multi art form project with dance, music, visual projection, sound-scapes and installation, inspired by Japanese graves in Townsville from the turn of the century.
In Repose is a requiem: a work of kuyo, a Japanese term, which describes an act of ceremonial prayer or offering to respect, honour and calm the spirits of the deceased. Its origins are in Buddhism, and its practice has become a part of the Japanese spiritual culture with or without its religious connection.
This work began as a process in which the Japanese migrant artists attempted to connect to the land in which they chose to live and die. As the project In Repose takes its shape, this connection has extended beyond the landscape at Belgian Gardens Cemetery to the community in Townsville and beyond.
History: In 1896, the first Japanese Consulate in Australia opened in Townsville to service the 4000 Japanese who arrived in Queensland to work in the sugar cane, turtle, trochus, beche de mere and pearling industries. Other Japanese followed, and worked as prostitutes, domestic servants, laundry operators, and interpreters.There was a thriving Japanese community once in Townsville, and the first recorded Japanese migrant in Australia settled in Townsville. Due to the White Australia Policy, demand for the Japanese workers ceased in time, and the Consulate closed in 1908. In the Belgian Gardens Cemetery there are still marked and unmarked Japanese graves from this time. In 1942, Townsville was target of Japanese bombing raids.
Wakako Asano (dance / choreography/ installation)
Shigeaki Iwai (installation / video art)
Mark Isaacs (music composition)
Mayu Kanamori (photography / video art)
Vic McEwan (soundscapes / installation)
Satsuki Odamura (koto & bass koto)
Rosalind Page (music composition)
Michael Whiticker (music composition)
The Australian Spirit -- 2007
In Repose premiered as part of National Trust Queensland's Annual Heritage Week Festival in May 2007 with performances by Satsuki Odamura and Wakako Asano

Umbrella Studio The In Repose Video Art was exhibited at Umbrella Studio, Townesville in April / May 2007

Artist's Workshops and Showing, February 2007
Japanese Section, Belgian Gardens Cemetery, Townsville
Just before dusk on 10th February, thirty invited guests arrived at the Belgian Gardens Cemetery to for a sneak preview of site-specific multi art project In Repose, during Townsville's annual Heritage Week in May 2007. Inspired by the remains of Japanese graves in Townsville from the turn of the century, four artists from Sydney and one from Tokyo have been holding workshops on site at the cemetery, and have arranged a private viewing for the local residents.
The guests walked slowly from the entrance of the cemetery to the Japanese section, lead by sound artist and the group's production manager Vic McEwan, who explained the concept of In Repose. Bradley Burrows, the sexton of the Belgian Gardens cemetery also spoke about the history of the cemetery and about some of the other sections within the cemetery. The cemetery is divided in to various Christian denominations as well Chinese, Jewish and other groups.
At the Japanese section, guests were invited to view the remaining Japanese graves. Although this section is large, unlike the other sections in the cemetery, it is sparse and with only twenty remaining tombs, telling of the severed Japanese history in Australia due to WWII. The current Japanese community of thirty residents in Townsville are not related to the graves in Belgian Gardens, and many of them did not know about its existence.
At dusk, with sounds of seventeen stringed bass koto by koto virtuoso Satsuki Odamura, dancer Wakako Asano (Sydney Dance Company) dressed in garment prepared by Sydney based fashion designer Akira Isogawa appeared from behind one of the tomb stones with a bell in her hand, and walked to the scattered tomb stones and acknowledged each of them by the sounding of the bells. Odamura for this occasion played Australian composer Mark Isaacs piece, especially composed for koto and for this project, entitled "Chinkon." Chinkon in Japanese means to quieten the spirits.
Asano danced amongst the old Japanese graves with the natural Australian bushland behind the cemetery and the setting sun behind her,. Odamura's koto was complimented by the sounds of frogs, birds and the wind, adding texture to the meaning this project, initiated by the wish of first generation Japanese migrant artists to make connection with the Australian landscape.
After receiving feedback from the invited guests, the artists are now in the process of refining and reworking the performance, and its corresponding video art. Australian sound artist Vic McEwan, Tokyo based video-installation artist Shigeaki Iwai and Sydney based photographer-video artist Mayu Kanamori will be exhibiting a corresponding collaborative video art work, also entitled In Repose at Umbrella Studio in Townsville also during Heritage Week.
Australia Council for the Arts Arts Queensland Akira Isogawa National Trust of Queensland The Japan Foundation, Sydney Kumon Australia & New Zealand
This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.
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