Fully illustrated catalogue featuring the work of Japanese contemporary artists responding to the Japanese popular culture of Kawaii, many using the traditional craft techniques of Japan. Essays on the nature of Kawaii from the exhibition curator Lesley Millar, Japanese writer Minako Sawada, curator Jessica Litherland, and all participating artists.
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Catalogue, full colour throughout, which explores the Japanese popular culture of Kawaii (cute).
The culture of Kawaii is a highly successful commercial tool, associated with ephemera and fashion, the exact opposite of the slow, highly crafted artefacts of traditional Japan, and as such is very attractive to the young. Its most famous manifestation, 'Hello Kitty', has become a global brand with its own theme park in Tokyo. Kawaii-based street fashion is regularly featured in style magazines and non-specialist publications in Japan and internationally.
However, Kawaii has many more levels of meaning than 'Hello Kitty'.
Kawaii embodies contradiction: it is "official (cute and sanitised) and underground (pornographic, iconoclastic, and anti-bourgeois)" (Kinsella. 2014:2 )
This catalogue documents the work of contemporary Japanese practitioners who are using their depth of material understanding and technical knowledge to reflect on, and in some cases lead, contemporary cultural discourse through a critical engagement with Kawaii. There are essays on the nature of Kawaii from the exhibition curator Lesley Millar, Japanese writer Minako Sawada, curator Jessica Litherland. and all participating artists.
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