A unique exhibit at the Keene State College (NH) Thorne Sagendorph Art Gallery brings two kinds of art together: examples of Japanese fashion and a wealth of family and vernacular photographs exploring ‘yosooi no atae’ — a gift of attire. The exhibit opened September 6 and will close on Saturday, December 9, 2023. Gallery hours are Tuesday – Saturday 12:00 noon – 5:00PM.
On Saturday, November 4, 2023, there will be an in-person exhibit symposium at the Mason Library – Room 240 – from 1:00PM to 3:00PM ET, together with a Zoom Cast. The event is free and open to the public. To register for the Zoom, follow this link: https://keene.zoom.us/j/96320793756
Curators Ayaka Iida of the Japan Society of New York and Dr. Lucile Druet of Kansai Gaidai University in Japan will be featured speakers at the symposium for the exhibition Yosooi no atae: Fashion and Vernacular Photography in 20th Century Japan on display at the Thorne Sagendorph Art Gallery through December 2023. The exhibit explores fashion and everyday life in Japan through found photographs: snapshots, studio portraits, family albums.
“We wanted to show the variety of patterns and silhouettes adorning Japanese selves and bodies—may they be in kimono or Western dress,” says Curator Dr. Lucile Druet. “The representation of all these people help interrogate how fashion conveys ideas about socialization, class, and personal taste, ranging from casual to formal.”
Curator Ayaka Iida adds: “The exhibition offers a rare glimpse into the lives—and wardrobes—of Japanese people at a time when cameras and photography became part of everyday life. Vernacular photographs play a crucial role in telling the stories of what people wore at a given time and place. Vernacular photography, because of its personal nature, often remains unrecorded and gets discarded over time, which makes this collection such a unique resource for historical research.”
The exhibition was organized by Prof. Jon Gitelson (Chair, Art Department), and Prof. Rodney Obien (Head of Special Collections & Archives, Mason Library), which grew out of an ART 399 Found Japan course during 2023. Obien’s collection of over 4,000 “found” images (prints, slides, negatives, and albums) “offers a visual record of everyday life and ordinary people in Japan from the Taisho (1912–1926) to the early Showa (1926–1989) eras,” said Ayaka Iida.
Regarding captions, Dr. Druet suggests they offer “significant insights about life in 20th century Japan via two broad categories: visual elements (silhouettes, forms, contrasts, framing, or composition) as well as text (notes, dates, personal and/or studio names, didactics).”
The event is being generously sponsored by the Global Education & Citizenship Speakers grant and by the Class of 1939 Fund, Thorne Sagendorph Art Gallery, KSC Art & Design Department, and Keene International Market.
What the heck…
Are Those Even Cameras?!
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