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Friendly Strangers & Strange Friends (2023)
Exhibited at Zimmerman Art Gallery, Palmerston North

Exhibition at Zimmerman Art Gallery, 2023

Installation View 02sm.jpg
Installation View 01sm.jpg



“In the summer of 1978, I was sent to the United States to participate in one of the major summer camps in Yosemite National Park for 30 days.


I first thought my parents wanted to get rid of me, so I cried all through the first night, but I also cried on the last day, because I didn't want to go back to my home country Japan.


I was rather a regular Japanese boy, so couldn't speak English at all. Nevertheless, I made friends with some American boys because we all loved superheroes.


We made conversations with fighting gestures of American heroes like Spiderman and Japanese superheroes like Ultraman. Boys didn't need verbal language then.

In my teens, I was one of millions of other kids who love superheroes. I still like to watch them in TV programmes or movies; however, the way I like them is very different now from then.


I enjoy watching enemies more than superheroes. Those aliens from outer space or monsters hidden underground (or underwater) try to attack people and invade the earth with all sorts of creative ideas, unique tactics and imaginative weapons.


The superheroes always repel those attackers in the end, but I don't like superheroes' perfectionism.


I just can't accept a simple good-punishing-bad plot any longer, too.


Superheroes look good, smart and nice, but they are too perfect, which is so unreal and unlikely.


If I am to choose either superheroes or aliens/monsters as my friends, I choose the latter without hesitation.


I wanted to make my recent favourite monsters and aliens appear in drawings with people in friendly and rather respectful settings. They are among us, just like interaction between aliens at a saloon in Star Wars.”

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