In 2015, whilst acting as Programme Director, and curator, Kashima Residency, Beppu, Japan. I invited and worked with British artist Sutapa Biswas, who produced a body of newly commissioned site-specific work across the summer of that year as part of Beppu Contemporary Art Triennial “Mixed Bathing World” 2015.
Artist and curator Sutapa Biswas is of Indian origin and has studied Fine Arts in several different UK universities. Her photographs, strongly marked by a recurring bodily presence, explore themes of dislocation and individual identity, referring to her own experience as an international curator based in London. She works across different media including painting and drawing, film, digital video, performance and photography. Her art engages with questions of identity, race and gender in relation to time, space and history.
She is particularly interested in the ways in which larger historical narratives collide with personal narratives. With her background in fine art and art history, and frequently inspired by art historical and literary texts, Biswas’ works explore ‘spatial stories’ and the relationships between people and the places they live in. Underpinned by an interest in colonial histories and how this relates to gender, race and class, her art is nuanced by the ways in which oral narratives reveal the human condition and their relationship to our collective histories and to questions of space and time.
Her newly commissioned work Mata Ne, (See you Soon), is inspired by the oral histories of women of Beppu who recount important moments in their lives. A method of recovering neglected histories, through a methodology exploring autobiographical practice centred on the subjectivity of the narrator. Oral histories focused on women’s experiences that demand revision of the historical. From these oral history’s, Sutapa aims to decenter patriarchal national narratives in Japan, through collaborations that make space for women’s narratives – their voices, experiences, and stories.
Sutapa Biswas is an artist whose work is nationally and internationally recognised and venues that have hosted her artworks include: Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool; Neuberger Museum, New York; ‘Mixed Bathing Worlds 2015 Triennial’, Beppu, Japan; Whitechapel Gallery (London), Havana Biennial (Cuba); Yale University Art Gallery (USA); Melbourne International Arts Festival 2006 (Australia); Art Gallery of Ontario (Canada); Iniva (UK); Reed Gallery (USA); Nara Roesler Gallery (Brazil); Lalit Kala Akademi (India). In 2014/15, she was Tate Artist in Residence as part of ‘RadioCity 2014/15’, and also the Kashima Artist in Residence 2015, supported by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan. Other recent projects also include a collaboration with the artist Mary Kelly’s for Tate’s online project ‘On the Passage of a Few People Through a Rather Brief Period of Time’ (2015).
Mata Ne was curated and directed by Keith Whittle, produced by Beppu Project and generously funded by Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan.