Photograph ©Yukari Chikura
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Dainichido Bugaku, locally known as Zaido, is an annual ritual performance, which has been passed down from generation to generation since the early 8th century in Kazuno district, Akita prefecture. On the second day of the year, the people of 4 local communities set off from dedicated sites to the Hachimantai shrine where they perform nine sacred dances from dawn to noon as a prayer for happiness in the New Year. Some are performed with masks, some are performed by children, reflecting variations amongst the four groups. The practice strengthens the sense of belonging in these communities, both by participating and by observing the tradition each year.
Following a series of tragedies including the unexpected death of her father, her own critical accident and the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, photographer Yukari Chikura set off on a restorative pilgrimage to document the 1,300-year-old ceremony, the images from which were recently published in Yukari’s book, Zaido, by Steidl. In this special talk, Yukari will share behind the scenes insights into the stories captured in her photographs, including an exclusive chance to look at images not featured in the book.
Born in Tokyo, Yukari Chikura studied music and initially worked as a composer and programmer, before moving to photography. Her work has been published in the Guardian and the New York Times, and is held in collections including the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris and the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, Massachusetts. Chikura has been honoured at Steidl Book Award, the LensCulture Emerging Talent Awards, the International Photography Awards, Critical Mass and the Sony World Photography Awards, amongst others. In 2015 she was artist in residence at the Mt. Rokko International Photo Festival.
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