Agency for Cultural Affairs, Goverment of Japan

Haneda Airport

“Hanabi/Fireworks”, enchanting spectacles shared by many around the world, has taken slightly unique development path in Japan. Since 17th century, it has been evolving together with the local cultures in various regions throughout this nation and come to hold the cultural significance of the country. Artist, SHIMADA Sayaka, using this global yet local symbol “fireworks”, as the means of expression, explores the complex culture of Japan filled with the coexistence of concepts even in histories, philosophies, and aesthetics.

Historically, the fireworks displays are known to have contradicting meanings of “festival” and “memorial service/reposing the souls” and have thrived with both aspects. For this work, SHIMADA focuses on this dualism of the fireworks festival. She collects and analyzes the temporal and geographical data of all the fireworks cancelled in Japan through 2020 because of COVID-19 and creates the actual fireworks that evoke another world that could have been and to honor the lost festivals. The form of the exhibition changes in stages, starting from a video work of the production process and data simulations, and to the installation consisting of used tubes from the actual fireworks launch and filmed footage.

Not only as an artist but also as an award-winning fireworks designer, SHIMADA, envisions to create the world that contrasts the various aspects of fireworks by examining the historical and cultural backgrounds.

This exhibition was ended.

Location: Jan. 19 – May. 30 Haneda Airport Terminal 2, 2nd Floor Marketplace

Exhibition theme

“Transcending Prayers”

Fireworks SHIMADA Sayaka

Fireworks for Another World That Never Came

Artist's Comment:
From 2020 to 2021, most of the events and festivals that attract large crowds were cancelled due to COVID-19. For this work, I’ve used the data of those 1,300 cancelled fireworks festivals, launched the actual fireworks, and reconstructed the installation with the used tubes from the launch and the footage of the “missed” fireworks. I truly hope this work could help us to remember the feelings we’ve somehow left behind in the last few years and light the “fireworks for another world that never came” in our hearts.

  • SHIMADA Sayaka
    Photo: Utsuki Nishi
    Graduated from Nihon University College of Art Cinema Course, SHIMADA Sayaka currently is in a doctoral program at the Tokyo University of the Arts and focuses on creating video works and installations. While she was studying in college, her fascination towards fireworks and their energy brought herself into the fireworks show designing where she also has been building a career as a designer. By conducting inter-disciplinary research on various aspects of fireworks from the composing elements to physicality, pyrotechnics, cultural and historical backgrounds, and reconstructing those findings, SHIMADA attempts to bring new awareness and to shed the light to social issues. She also creates works using phenomena such as fire, lightning, radiation, and water as her motifs. She has participated in notable fireworks festivals in Japan and abroad as a show designer.
    Photo: Utsuki Nishi

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