Tomoyo Ihaya, "Sketch for Eyes Water Fire," 2016
mixed media on Japanese paper, 10" x 7"
Opening Reception on Friday, September 30, 3 - 6pm, artist Tomoyo Ihaya will be in attendance.
We are very pleased to present returning gallery artist, Tomoyo Ihaya, in her fourth solo exhibition at Art Beatus (Vancouver) Consultancy Ltd, Eyes Water Fire.
A self-professed nomad, Tomoyo Ihaya is a world traveller with a particular affinity for the wondrous country of India. Since 2005, she has travelled to the subcontinent 15 times, each ranging in duration from 1 to 6 months. “After many years of travelling and living abroad, particularly in India, I have grown increasingly sensitive to people who have been forced to migrate due to oppressive and often violent social political situations. I have heard many stories of lost homelands, escapes and life in exile.” Driven by her profound sense of empathy and compassion, the works in this exhibition is Ihaya's emotional and visual diatribe against “...the suffering of people [because of] forced migration due to wars, suppression, abuse of human rights and loss of homelands and dignity.”
The works in Eyes Water Fire include a mixed media installation, mixed media drawings and an art video. Unlike Surrealism where the juxtaposing of disparate objects are due to the seemingly happenstance of the subconscious, Ihaya's chosen symbols that form her own iconography are deliberate. The water motif is manifested in the image of boats and watery blue legs that, according to the artist, “...cross the borders on snow-covered mountains or swimming across an ocean” while the image of “flames declare resistance and dignity or lights of prayers”. The ubiquitous eyes that appear throughout this exhibition represent witnessing, prayers, as well as doors to the mind. In addition, Ihaya says, “Burning small holes into the eyes with incense sticks is an act of prayer or meditation. The light coming through each tiny hole is a symbol of hope.” Ihaya's work in Eyes Water Fire is powerfully poignant as well as earnestly poetic.
Accomplished in various visual arts disciplines and the recipient of numerous awards, grants and residencies, including the prestigious VADA Award from Vancouver Foundation, Tomoyo Ihaya was born in Tsu-City, Japan and earned a Bachelor degree in German Literature from Rikkyo University in Tokyo. After moving to Canada, Ihaya studied fine arts at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick, Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in Vancouver and Capilano College in North Vancouver before completing a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta. Ihaya's work can be found in numerous collections in Canada, USA, Italy and Asia.