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The Amabie Project

June 2021

Amabie Project – Exhibition at Pollen Studios


One year after the project call-out and we’re still in the midst of the pandemic, we were happy to announce that the Amabie Project exhibition was to take place from Saturday 19th of June – 3rd July 2021 at Pollen Studios, Belfast.

The exhibition will show Amabie (アマビエ) inspired artworks by 33 Irish and Japanese artists:  Aimee Magee, Shiro Masuyama, Clinton Kirkpatrick, Chie Yamayoshi, Gerry Gleason, Katrīna Tračuma, Jim Ricks, Nagahata Tomohiro, Jayne Cherry, Christopher Campbell, Izuru Mizutani, Kathy Marshall, Martin Boyle, Taiyo Tono, Grace McMurray & Elin Watson, Zara Lyness, Chris Watt, Yuji Ota, Grace Fairley, Tesshin Iino, Sinéad Bhreathnach-Cashell, Molly Hendry, Shunji OHNO, Paul King & Niamh King, Yoshitaka Hirose, Deirdre McKenna, Keita Ando, Fionnuala Doran, Emile Braibant, David Frederick Mahon and Johanna Leech. 


Some of the participating artists took over Pollen Studio Instagram before and during the exhibition –


Amabie (アマビエ) is a legen­dary 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.


A small selection are on the @Amabie_Project Instagram and an online exhibition will be shown online in July.


* Yōkai are a class of supernatural monsters, spirits, and demons in Japanese folklore. Yōkai range diversely from the malevolent to the mischievous, or occasionally bring good fortune to those who encounter them, they often possess animal features yet others appear mostly human. Some yōkai look like inanimate objects, while others have no discernible shape. Yōkai usually have spiritual or supernatural abilities.




アマビエ・プロジェクト - ポレン・スタジオでの展覧会

プロジェクトの呼びかけから1年が経ち、まだパンデミックの最中ですが、ベルファストのPollen Studiosで6月19日(土)から2021年7月3日(日)まで、Amabie Projectの展覧会が開催されることになりました。

この展覧会では、アイルランドと日本の32人のアーティストによるアマビエをモチーフにしたアート作品が展示されます。 エイミー・マギー、増山士郎、クリントン・カークパトリック、やまよしちえ、ジェリー・グリーソン、カトリーナ・トラクマ、ジム・リックス、永畑智大、ジェーン・チェリー、クリストファー・キャンベル、水谷イズル、キャシー・マーシャル、冬乃太陽、グレース・マクマリー&エリン・ワトソン、ザラ・ラインズ、クリス・ワット、太田祐司 、グレース・フェアリー、飯野哲心、シネアド・ブレナ=キャシェル、モリー・ヘンドリー、大野俊治、ポール・キング&ニーブ・キング、廣瀬欣孝、ディアドラ・マッケンナ、安藤圭汰、フィヌーラ・ドーラン、エミール・ブライバン、デビッド・フレデリック・マハン、ジョアナ・リーチ。


参加アーティストの一部は、会期前と会期中に ポレン・スタジオのインスタグラム・アカウントにも登場します -




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