Arrival - Picture Brides who traveled across the Pacific Ocean 1 by Chino Otsuka
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Photograph with archival image (NNM 2001-28-2-4: A picture bride photo of Kinori Oka, Nikkei National Museum)
Chino Otsuka uses photography and video to explore the fluid relationship between the memory, time and photography. At age 10 she moved from Japan to the United Kingdom to attend school. Her experience of becoming familiar with a new place, a different language and new customs while she was developing her adolescent identity has profoundly shaped her work in photography, video and writing. Her series Imagine Finding Me consists of double self-portraits, with images of her present self beside her past self in various places she has visited. As Otsuka says: “The digital process becomes a tool, almost like a time machine, as I’m embarking on the journey to where I once belonged and at the same time becoming a tourist in my own history.” This dynamic is extended by Memoriography, a video series, and Photo Album, a series of images of a family photo album with the photographs removed, inviting the viewer to imagine what might have been. With earlier works such as Summer and TOKYO 4-3-4-506, the artist revisits pivotal places from her past – a school she attended, or her family’s home. Together, Otsuka's images conjure a delicate and poignant awareness of the impermanence of time.
Chino Otsuka was born in Tokyo, Japan and came to the UK to be educated at Summerhill School, the progressive co-educational boarding school, at the age of 10. She studied photography at University of Westminster and received MA in Fine Art Photography at Royal College of Art. She has exhibited widely in UK, Europe and Asia. Recently she had a major solo show at Huis Marseille Museum for Photography, Amsterdam. Group shows include Helsinki Photography Festival, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Victoria & Albert Museum, UK, LACMA, US, Dong Gang Museum of Photography, South Korea and Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai, India. She has also published four books in Japan as a writer and published her first autobiographical book at the age of 15 to much acclaim. Her works are found in public collections including National Media Museum, UK, Wilson Centre for Photography, UK, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Huis Marseille Museum for Photography and Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography. The series Imagine Finding Me has become her most exhibited work showing over 14 countries.
As a finalist for the prestigious 2013 AIMIA | AGO Photography Prize, Chino Otsuka was awarded a residency anywhere in Canada. She chose Burnaby, British Columbia and the Nikkei National Museum to conduct research that resulted in the four diptych images that make up “Arrival - Picture Brides who traveled across the Pacific Ocean”.
"As my research progressed, I became more and more interested in the stories of young women who came over from Japan as "picture brides," young Japanese women usually between 17 and 20 year's old, who came to Canada in the early 20th century. Their marriages were arranged by showing the prospective bride and groom photographs of each other. Most of these women travelled from Japan and saw their husband-to-be for the first time when they arrived in Canada. I was drawn to their innocence, ambition and courage - their journey. They all longed for a new life in a new country. Yet when they arrived in Canada, the life they had imagined was completely different. Hardship and many tragedies would follow them. They struggled and endured throughout their lives." Chino Otsuka
Adapted from Chino Otsuka’s website
Artist CV (PDF)
Artist Bio (PDF)