Shiga Lieko’s photographs are characterised by their intense colour saturation, heavy use of flash and uncanny, dreamlike tone. She deliberately transgresses the conventions of documentary photography, blurring the boundaries between reality and representation, and drawing on local myths and personal accounts. By chance, Shiga became the official photographer for the small town of Kitakama in Miyagi prefecture in 2008. When Kitakama was devastated by the 2011 tsunami, Shiga gathered, cleaned and sorted over 30 000 photographs that had washed ashore. Her powerful RASEN KAIGAN (Spiral Coast) 2008–12, an immersive installation of the large-scale photographs, reflects upon the community’s experiences in the aftermath of the tsunami. The photographs are encountered in a darkened space, and reflect the artist’s experience of living intimately among these people who were soon to be affected by tragedy on such a large scale.
‘The 8th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art’ (APT8) / Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art / 21 November 2015 – 10 April 2016