Performers walking through the snow to the shrine.
Photograph © Yukari Chikura

A shrine, hidden in an otherworldly snow landscape, dedicated to the Sun Goddess Amaterasu. It is located in an area known for its heavy snowfalls, the border between thethree prefectures of Aomori, Iwate and Akita. © Yukari Chikura

The Godaison-mai. The two wearing the golden masks are the Ōbakase and Kobakase. The chant of the Ōbakase has been passed down from generation to generation by word of mouth. Because of the sudden death of an Ōbakase a long time ago, its meaning was lost and the performer is actually only pretending to chant. © Yukari Chikura

Photograph © Yukari Chikura 

A nōshū performing mizugori (cold water ablutions) at Makanaiyado, a ritual that is currently only executed at one of the four original localities. On this day the lake in front of the house had frozen, making the task even harder. © Yukari Chikura

ZAIDO (Dedicated to My Father…)

“My deceased father came to me in a dream. “Go to a village hidden in deep snow where I lived a long time ago,” he whispered to me. As if in a dream, I followed his instructions and boarded a train; when I disembarked at a small village, I found it covered in silvery-white snow; the landscape an otherworldly dream.” – Yukari Chikura

Following a succession of tragedies, including her father’s sudden death, her own critical injuries from an accident, and the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, Yukari Chikura set off on a pilgrimage to northeast Japan. Her father’s whispers from a dream inspired her to follow his instructions, which were to document the 1,300-year-old Japanese ritual New Year’s festivity. Described by Steidl in a soon to be published monograph, Chikura captures photographs “of snowscapes that border on abstraction with images of the intricate masks and costumes of Zaido, depicting the cultural diversity of the participants, as well as their common bond in creating collective memory and ensuring the survival of this ritual.” I am deeply taken both visually and emotionally with the metaphysical nature of these performances

Yukari Chikura, Fotofest Portfolio Reviews 2016

FotoFest invited me to select one artist whose work I found particularly compelling from my experience as a reviewer at the 2016 Meeting Place Portfolio Reviews. I selected Yukari Chikura from the many wonderful photographers I reviewed as I was most impressed with her images and their back story. Her photographs, along with the other nine photographers chosen by 2016 reviewers, will be featured in the Biennial's "Discoveries of the Meeting Place" exhibition at the Spring Street Studios in Houston from March 10 through April 22, 2018. EA  

Artists Reception: March 20, 2018, 6-8pm 

March 10 - April 22, 2018
Spring Street Studios
1824 Spring Street
Houston, Texas

Marina Black (Russia/Canada): Selected By Patricia Conde, Director, Patricia Conde Galería (Mexico City, Mexico)

Jinhyun Cha (South Korea): Selected By Elda Harrington and Silvia Mangialardi, Encuentros Abiertos (Buenos Aires, Argentina)

Yukari Chikura (Japan): Selected By Elizabeth Avedon (New York, USA), Independent Curator  

Debi Cornwall (USA): Selected By Duan Yuting, Founder and Director, Lianzhou Foto, (Guangzhou, China)

Kirk Crippens + Gretchen LeMaistre (USA): Selected By Maarten Schilt, Founder and Director, Schilt Publishing & Gallery (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

David Fathi (France): Selected By Louise Clements, Artistic Director, Quad; and Director, Format International Photography Festival (Derby, United Kingdom)

Thomas Holton (USA): Selected By Jae-Hyun Seok, Independent Curator and Professor at Daegu Mirae College (Daegu, South Korea)

Priya Kambli (India/USA): Selected By Dan Leers, Curator of Photography, Carnegie Museum of Art (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA)

Elaine Ling (China/Canada): Selected By Xavier Soule, Owner & President, Galerie VU' & Agence VU' (Paris, France)

Dylan Vitone (USA): Selected By Malcolm Daniel, Gus And Lyndall Wortham Curator Of Photography, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (Houston, Texas, USA)

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Alongside the FotoFest 2018 Biennial's central exhibition, INDIA/Contemporary Photographic and New Media Art,FotoFest sponsors the popular Discoveries of the Meeting Place, an exhibition that originates from the FotoFest International Meeting Place Portfolio Review for Artists. FotoFest invited ten reviewers to select artists whose work was an interesting discovery from their experience at the 2016 Meeting Place Portfolio Reviews. These artists are featured in the Biennial's Discoveries of the Meeting Place exhibition. The Meeting Place has established itself as a launching pad for the careers of artists, and these Discoveries are among its most successful, finding opportunities for exhibition, publication, and sales across the globe as a result of the portfolio reviews. FotoFest is proud to highlight this group of artists as a testament to their success. 

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