Renowned Japanese-Australian artist Hiromi Tango (courtesy of Sullivan + Strumpf) has joined forces with Andy Dinan and her gallery MARS to create and exhibit a series of photographs in celebration of International Women’s Day.

“This work was born during a time of intense emotional upheaval, when I was experiencing post-natal depression. There was something in the air that day that drew me out – the energy of the dust storm when the air turned a violent shade of orange, the hot wind, the ominous cloud descending on the land. It was as though the sun, wind, and soil conspired together to express the seething anger I felt inside. The photographs document a moment when I finally found a way to give voice to the chaos that had been churning inside of me, as I struggled with my role as a woman, a mother, a daughter, a wife, an artist, and a human being experiencing emotional distress.

“Growing up in a traditional family in regional Japan, it seemed that women never spoke in the presence of men. I grew up experiencing that women were expected to be silent, not having a voice. But I have never been able to accept it. Living as an adult in Australia, at the moment when the dust storm hit, something transformed inside of me. The earth stirred itself up, and created space for me to express what I was feeling. It felt as though a volcano of emotions arising from the injustices of human kind erupted from within me.

“My hope is that in some way, my work can create space and allow those who are voiceless to be heard. I am constantly seeking ways to use art to transform emotions and create connections with nature, to not only provide a safe space for expressing thoughts, feelings, and ideas, but also provide using art-making processes to start a healing process. The creation of a light box work as a new addition to series is my way of illuminating this shared journey.

“The opportunity to participate in Bloom is closely related to this journey, as it relates to my relationship with my grandmother in Japan, who I lived with throughout my childhood. She was always silent, carefully tending her rose garden. My earliest memories are of helping her in the garden, working side by side without verbally communicating. These memories are associated with a strong sense of safety and well-being, of being nurtured and cared for almost as part of the garden that she cultivated. I often wonder about her experiences, living through wars, often with no food or home, raising six children. She experienced so much in her life. As she worked silently in her garden, with her deep love and connection with nature, I wonder what she was thinking and feeling.

In sharing my personal journey, and contributing to the theme of Bloom, I hope to create and cultivate space – not just for women, but for all of humanity and nature – to give voice to their experiences and feelings, and to find strength in our most vulnerable moments.

(Hiromi Tango, 2018)

Tango is represented by Sullivan + Strumpf, Sydney and has exhibited in galleries both throughout Australia and Internationally: The Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, Singapore Art Museum in Singapore, and the Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art in Adelaide.

The Bloom exhibition will open with a fundraising event, Thursday 28 February, 6 pm, for the Global Fund for Women to support global anti violence programs. It will be the second year that MARS has collaborated with artists to support the Global Fund for Women.