Hiten Utami

Our artist in residence Hiten Utami graduated at School of Kyushu Industrial University of Art of Fukuoka (Japan) in 1983. Since then, she has participated in many solo and collective exhibitions in her country an abroad:  Spain, Portugal, Suiza, Rusia, Malaysia, Taiwan and Australia where she has also interacted with their children with several workshops.

Hiten focused her art pieces in the awareness of current social issues. She creates murals depicting vulnerable groups of the society, most of all, children issues: bullying, child abuse, domestic violence, etc.

Phantom mask project against bullying

In human communication, words and facial expressions are only understandable because of human´s capacity of thought and are also related the personal experiences. There is always a slight gap in the understanding between both sides of communication. Additionally, real meanings are wrapped in a veil or create a different persona which can deepen the communication gap. In her own words:

I believe that this happens in my culture is because Japanese people rarely practice expressing their opinion or thoughts. They prefer to just avoid them and do not develop the ability to debate. If you try to express opposition to the majority opinion, you are treated as a person considered to be hard headed. These attitudes can make communication difficult and wears a person out.

This project is intended to listen to children´s inside voice that hesitates to say out loud ideas of discomfort, irritation, loneliness, anxiety, cruelty, sadness, preciousness, affection, desire, anger and so on. By painting these feelings on canvases in the shape of a phantom mask they can deepen their understanding of each other .

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