Moon bear’s instrument from Hyakki Yagyo (night parade with one hundred demons series), 2019
Ink on hand-dyed indigo paper
38 x 26 inches
Courtesy of the artist and CULT Aimee Friberg Exhibition
Framing courtesy of Small Works, SF
Retail Value: $12,000
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Moon bear’s instrument is based on a genre of traditional Japanese paintings (Hyakki Yagyo) that depict a “night parade with one hundred demons.” These paintings usually show a procession of various yokai or shape shifters from Japanese folklore—animals and objects that have taken on powers and attributes they did not have before. Miki has made a series of drawings of shape shifters—some with animals, like the fox, and some inanimate objects like plates and tools. The elder moon bear is considered a shape shifter in Japanese folklore and here he joins Miki’s pantheon of yokai.
Miki is attracted to the idea of the shape shifter as a symbol of pluralism. Shape shifters are both sacred and secular, animate and inanimate—they are always in transition. The ideas of boundlessness that the yokai embody resonate with Miki’s own fluid cultural identity—she has lived in the US for the last 20 years but grew up in Japan. The yokai also represent ideas of inclusiveness, connectedness, and empathy, themes Miki emphasizes in her work.
Miki has exhibited throughout the Bay Area and currently has a show at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, on view through April 28 that includes life-sized sculptural shape shifters in a vibrant, playful installation.
Miki was also a Facebook Artist in Residence (Menlo Park, CA) and had a residency at the de Young Museum with an accompanying solo exhibition in 2016. Her works are in the collections of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Facebook, The Byrd Hoffman Watermill Foundation, New York and many notable private collections. Miki received her MFA from San Jose State University and has been on the adjunct faculty at University of California Berkeley, Davis, and Mills College. Miki is represented by CULT Aimee Friberg Exhibitions in San Francisco and lives in Berkeley, CA.