food in the arts





Arttist (b. 1977, Kobe, Japan)

Tomoko Sawada

Costume/YAOYA (a vegetable woman)


Tomoko Sawada continues to work in Kobe today. She attended Seian University of Art and Design, in Ohtsu, Japan, completing her degree in media design in 1998 and in photography in 2000.
Sawada’s work has always revolved around the exploration of the tension between outer image and inner truth, using her own body and features as a stage on which to build different identities. As with her earlier series ID400 and Costume, School Days finds Sawada inserting herself into a different identity. Here the artist has presented her face in the flat, confrontational idiom of the institutional group portrait. The portrait has been digitally manipulated so that each girl in the class is Tomoko Sawada. The sameness of the faces echoes the rigid uniforms and formal banality of the rows of students posing for the year book photo. This wall of conformity shows the effects of institutionalisation on personality and raises the question: what is the meaning of an individual when all individuals are identical? Sawada was featured in the Global Feminisms exhibition curated by Maura Reilly and Linda Nochlin.
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