Amabie Project

Fionnuala Doran (Artist), Johanna Leech (Curator), Chie Yamayoshi (Artist), Nagahata Tomohiro (Artist), Izuru Mizutani (Artist), Taiyo Tono (Artist), Yuji Ota (Artist), Tesshin Iino (Artist), Shunji OHNO (Artist), Yoshitaka Hirose (Artist), Keita Ando (Artist), Aimee Magee (Artist), Shiro Masuyama (Artist), Clinton Kirkpatrick (Artist), Gerry Gleason (Artist), Katrīna Tračuma (Artist), Jim Ricks (Artist), Jayne Cherry (Artist), Christopher Campbell (Artist), Kathy Marshall (Artist)Martin Boyle (Artist), Grace McMurray (Artist), Elin Watson (Artist), Zara Lyness (Artist), Chris Watt (Artist), Grace Fairley (Artist), Sinéad Bhreathnach-Cashell (Artist), Molly Hendry (Artist), Paul & Niamh King (Artist), Deirdre McKenna (Artist), Emile Braibant (Artist), David Frederick Mahon (Artist)

Research output: Non-textual formExhibition

Abstract / Description of output

Amabie (アマビエ) is a legen¬dary Japanese mermaid or merman with three legs and long hair, who emerges from the sea and prophesies either an abundant harvest or an epidemic. Amabie is a kind of monster or spirit known as yokai*. People around the world were embracing this somewhat obscure character in 2019 - 2020. Japanese have traditionally created yokai through a cathartic process of bringing fears and hopes out of the subconscious.

Lockdown fosters our imagination through escapism and fantasy, and characters like Amabie grab our attention, similar to the popular adoption of the Rainbow icon, started by children in the USA and now being used worldwide as a sign of camaraderie and hope during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Belfast has a strong connection with Japan hosting exhibitions, residences and exchanges with Japanese artists. Johanna Leech has curated a new project which embraces this connection during a time when the possibility of travel seems too distant by inviting local and Japanese artists to respond through the Amabie Project. This project would not have been able to take place without the support of Shiro Masuyama.

Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBelfast
PublisherPollen Studios
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jun 2021

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Japanese mythology
  • Japan-Ireland Exchange
  • pandemic
  • Northern Ireland
  • Belfast


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