ART PROGRAMアートプログラム部門

Akiko Ishigaki from Kuuru Koubou
Wear the Shima (Wear the Island)

It was about two years ago that I came to know Akiko Ishigaki, who is based in Iriomote Island, through the recordings of Choji Nakahodo, who has served as the general director of the festival since its inception. I was overwhelmed by the scenery of the island and the "Setsusai" festival in Sonai, where villagers wear traditional costumes remade from natural materials, and was led to the Kouro Workshop, which is located in a place surrounded by blue sky, sea, and deep forest.
Akiko, who continues to create her works by skillfully combining rich materials obtained from nature, talked with a sparkle in her eyes despite our first meeting about her past efforts and the works and activities she would like to challenge in the future, which led us to this project.
In the "Wear the Shima" exhibition, Akiko, who attended a workshop held by Toshiko Taira of Kijoka, who passed away recently and had an invitation to Iriomote Island, started working on a Basho tapestry immediately afterwards, and has continued to create them since, including a mixed fabric combining basho, ramie, and silk, and a newly produced black sudina for Yanbaru. The exhibition traces the transition of Akiko's creations, beginning with the Basho tapestry on to the mixed fabrics she has continued to make.
In addition, by combining Shiroma Bingata drop curtains stored at Sonai Community Center, old Sudinas inherited by Akiko-san, and video recordings of Iriomote Island, the scenery of Iriomote Island will be launched in Yanbaru. By introducing the subsequent activities of many people who left the Kouro Workshop, the world of "Wearing the Shima" spreading from Iriomote Island will be developed in Yanbaru.

  • Akiko Ishigaki Akiko Ishigaki from Kuuru Koubou


    Dyeing and weaving house. Born in 1938 on Taketomi Island, Okinawa Prefecture, she graduated from Joshibi Junior College of Fashion in 1959. In 1970, she studied under Fukumi Shimura in Kyoto, and in 1980, she opened the Kouro Workshop on Iriomote Island with her husband, Kinsei Ishigaki. She re-established the island's dyeing and weaving tradition and^ was involved in the restoration of traditional costumes and founding of a handicraft center. In 1992 she became widely known for her work at Kouro Workshop through Issey Miyake's collection. In 1996 she won the Rie Haraguchi Foundation Mimosa Award (a prize for behind-the-scenes supporters of true fashion). In 1998, she collaborated with textile designer Chiaki Maki and fashion designer Michiyo Masago to launch the collaboration brand "Maapai." The exhibition of her life and work in harmony with the nature of Iriomote Island has attracted wide acclaim. She has appeared in "Earth Symphony No. 5" (2004, directed by Hitoshi Tatsumura) and "AU FIL DU MONDE -JAPON-" (2017, aired on French national television by Jill Coulon, Isabelle Depuy Chavanat), and "Seisei Ruten" (2021, directed by Nagaharu Nakahodo), and in numerous documentary films.

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