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Check Out Hanae Kawai’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Hanae Kawai.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I was born and raised in Hokkaido, Japan. It is just a tiny island separated from the mainland.

I love its traditional culture but I always felt that the conservative tradition or social standard restricts our perspective. So, I started to think about studying abroad after graduating from high school. I took B.F.A. in painting at SCAD in 2018.

After that, I moved to NYC and worked as an assistant to contemporary artist Takashi Murakami. In 2020, I came back to SCAD as a grad student in the same department. This June, I’m graduating.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I guess that the language was the biggest struggle for me. But, I also think all issues were valuable. So, I do not think they were struggles.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
My work is developed based on two key points. First of all, my art is informed by my personal habit of collecting. I have collected different objects such as bottles, magazines, dolls, stickers, toys, and more.

They are significant materials and also the inspiration for concepts. I also collect digital resources such as images from the Internet, ambivalent sounds, and video records of my daily life. The practice of collecting is reflected mainly in installation, video, texts, and sculpture.

The second point is that my curiosity about contradiction/ambiguity/duality is a foundational motivation for all of my work. My goal is to get rid of the dichotomic judgment and articulate the contradiction/ambiguity/duality. For example, my work is not to be judged as neither beautiful nor ugly.

I seek a merging point between beauty and ugliness, which we can not explain in words.

What are your plans for the future?
Recently, I have focused on developing how I can employ space to present my ideas. So, I would like to have a show in a bigger gallery or museum.

But, before that, I need more experience and knowledge. So, I’m planning to Europe (Germany or Northern Europe) after graduation. Hopefully, I will be accepted for a residency there.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Hsing-Chia Hsieh, Hanae Kawai, Installation View of ‘Kuzu,’ 2022, and photo by Lu Pan

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