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  Kohana (Mix Media)

Biography

English | Japanese

She was born in Tsugaru, Aomori in Japan, known for its heavy snow in the winter. She spent her childhood days in Saitama, a prefecture neighboring Tokyo on the northern border. “Tsugaru Onna” (Women born in Tsugaru) are known for having strong passionate personalities. There were many medical doctors among Kohana’s ancestors on her father’s side since the Edo period, and her father is also a doctor. She sensed from her childhood that she should become a doctor herself. Kohana loved books, mostly foreign literatures, especially Grimm’s Fairy Tales during her childhood and the works of Dostoyevsky during her adolescence. She loved reading books so much that she read while walking on her way to school as she could not stop reading. She had been thinking deeply since her childhood days about how human emotions arise. When watching a TV program on the human brain when she was 10 years old, she became even more interested in how human emotion is created in the brain. Her mother took her to museums and art galleries every weekend. She drew reproductions of great masters’ works such as Picasso and Munch in her diary. She also created her own works. Her childhood dream was to become "a child psychologist and the author of a picture book" as she wrote in her junior school essay. When she was a junior high school student, she encountered the work of Vlaminck and was shocked by the power as the painting showed a new definition of beauty, depicting mud on a snowmelt road. When she was 17, she pondered whether to become an artist or a doctor, but when she got to know Hippocrates teaching that medicine is art, she decided to become a doctor. During her med school years, Kohana went to an art school on the weekends, majoring in sculpture. She studied various styles of art in that school and was especially impressed by conceptual art, which has the power to change people’s concept at a glance. Kohana created installation pieces, performances using movies and mixed materials. She was awarded a Bronze Prize in the First Maebashi Art Competition in 1998 and was invited to appear on a TV show called “Takeshi’s Daredemo Picasso” (Anyone Can Become Picasso). As for her international art activities, she participated in a group exhibition in SIGGRAPH in Los Angeles in 2000 and in gallery exhibitions at Edinburgh College of Art in Edinburgh, Scotland in 2008 and 2009. As for her domestic activities of fine art in Japan, she participated in many group exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in Gunma, the Museum of Art in Takasaki, and at Rinko-kaku, a designated important cultural property. In these exhibitions, she showed movies of foreign people pronouncing Japanese sentences (aiming to transform the meaning in sentences to simple sounds) appearing on the surface of water in a lotus pot and a work that she acted as a Pandora caged in a paulownia box. Her works have a blended taste of traditional Japanese and Western styles and the power to affect the viewer’s emotions emanating from their primal experiences.
After she experienced the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, she has considered the meaning of survival from the earthquake. She felt that the meaning of living is “to fulfill the promise with someone who is close to me”. YUBIKIRI, that can be called “Pinky swear” or “Pinky promise” in English, was started from a Japanese custom to signify that a promise that can never be broken has been made. In the Edo period, the origin of YUBIKIRI was the custom that a prostitute gave her cut pinky to the man whom she loved truly. It might be a kind of sublimation that such a violent desire and love could be a more friendly gentle behavior using YUBIKIRI. She aims to open the mind of people who see her art work and connect with many kinds of people from all over the world using YUBIKIRI. As a doctor, Kohana is a child psychiatrist and a researcher specializing in the field of psychiatric problems in children.