Sway Gallery London is thrilled to present two new featured artists from Japan, Ai Suzuki and Akatsuki, who specialise in different artforms yet share a raw synergy in their work. After a year without exhibitions don’t miss your chance to see the latest Japanese art, with a modern take on traditional calligraphy and inspiring art therapy-based installations.
This small-scale exhibition comprising one artwork by each artist will be take place in the art section of Sway Gallery.
Caring about the health of customers and staff, Sway Gallery London will be adhering to social distancing measures and guidelines.
Since Ai Suzuki was young, she loved to daydream. Whenever she saw a beautiful sky or flower or bird or even a little bug, she made space for it in her imagination and made up a simple story about it to amuse herself. She also enjoyed recalling the strange landscapes she encountered in her dreams while sleeping. Things are no different for her today.
Her creative work, which mainly involves stylized use of the calligraphy brush, is her way of expressing the shapeless images of her imagination and the thoughts and feelings we can’t see.
The KANJI was born 3,300 years ago and was made by combining lines and shapes from various pictures together which represented that word’s meaning. Over the years the KANJI evolved from complex pictures into simpler designs more conducive to writing on a daily basis. The ‘Modern day’ KANJI used now holds little similarity to the picture it once used to represent, and we are unable to feel which picture combination it originated from.
Therefore, Ai is set on a mission to provide life, feeling and purpose back to these characters and wants each KANJI to again have the pictorial meaning, or the connotation it used to have once upon a time. In a sense she wants the KANJI to be ‘born again’.
Her main tools are a Toyohashi-brush (made from animal hair), ink (an ash composite made from burning oil and pine together), an ink stone (made of rock), and paper (made from plants). All these materials are natural, meaning their production can’t and isn’t totally influenced by humans. Ai values this aspect of her materials and tries to follow their natural rhythms.
She follows other natural rhythms in her schedule, making art only during the two weeks between the new moon and the full moon.
String art Artist / Author of therapeutic picture book / Illustrator / Artwork therapist in Japan / Jewellery designer
In recent years, Akatsuki has been fascinated by making mandala string art. The process of making a mandala is mindful meditation for her. She pursues the beauty of geometry and fuses the mystery of geometry with figurative art. In the process, she challenges large-scale installations and breaks new ground in string art. Her innovative Mandala art has been well received and an exhibition was held at a prominent Japanese company in 2020.
Akatsuki was born in Vancouver, Canada, and grew up in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. From her earliest childhood she has been a wanderer and, on many occasions, got lost in Canada. She was a curious girl and used piano scores and walls as her graffiti book.
Surrounded by souvenirs of a Malaysian scorpion, an Arab vase, Inuit stone statues etc., which her father brought home from overseas business trips, she was fascinated by world cultures. She came to love traveling and exploration. In Finland, she took a lesson from a dwarf called Tontoo serving Santa and got a Tontoo dwarf qualification. Also, she was attracted by New York’s multi-cultural character so in 2008 she studied abroad for a short time. In 2015 and 2016 she held art workshop at J-LABO Brooklyn.
Akatsuki got the long-awaited baby, however taking care of the naughty child proved quite a challenge. At that time, she started art therapy which helped her communicate with her son. And she realised that the picture she drew was art therapy to heal herself.
She wants to deliver this wonderful wisdom to those who suffer like her. That’s why she regards art therapy workshop as her life work. In the workshop, she is moved when participants access their subconscious mind, or when non-verbal exchange between participants happens.
She hopes her artwork will open the door of the viewer’s mind.