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05/26/22 - 06/25/22



Project “Okinawa Paradox”

A photo-book, an exhibition and a concert


For a month (October 2019), the photographer Joan Tomás was in Okinawa commissioned by the Cricao de Toulousse association and by the Garaman Hall cultural center in Ginoza-Okinawa to make several street art installations and produce images for a photo. -book, accompanied by texts by four European writers awarded by the European Union Prize for Literature: Lidija Djkosvka, Adam Foulds, Jasmin Frelih, and Walid Nabhan, who carried out an artistic residency in Okinawa in 2018, getting to know Okinawa, its history, culture and landscape.


Later the project has taken the form of an exhibition, and the concert "The thin place", in collaboration with the French electronic music composer and singer Fanel, also connected with Okinawa. In “The thin place” Joan Tomás creates the visuals for Fanel's compositions, experimenting with color and movement, giving the project a whole new dimension.


Teaser “The thin place”


"Okinawa Paradox" shows Okinawa, an island full of paradoxes: a contemporary society with deep ancestral beliefs and a very present spirituality, which coexists with American bases installed after the Second World War. An exuberant tropical nature that shares space with modern infrastructures, and all this marked by the tragic events of the battle of Okinawa in the Second World War, where a third of the civilian population died, in which the Japanese imperial army instigated the civilian population to commit suicide so as not to fall into the hands of the American army that was going to torture men and rape women.


Okinawa has one of the oldest populations on the planet, but also the highest birth and divorce rates in Japan.


Perhaps the most powerful paradox in Okinawa is the joy of living and the good spirits of its population despite the tragic burden they carry on their backs. Okinawans are open, cheerful people who love music, parties and their traditions.


Okinawa was annexed to Japan in 1879, so they still retain their own cultural identity, descended from the kingdom of Ryükyü, which translates into their own spiritual, musical and traditional universe.


“With unusual beauty, Joan Tomas invites us to visit Okinawa. Through his gaze, he tells us about time, about the parallelism between men/women and nature. Of life and memory.”


Xavier Jansana, sculptor


The chronicle in “Okinawa Paradox” speaks much more directly about all of us than one might expect. Its eloquent grays bring together times and spaces; They make the stains on the skins dialogue with the moss on the rocks, evidencing something obvious, but incredibly forgotten, that there is no distinction between human beings and Nature. The extraordinary faith in the human being that has always been evidenced in the work of Joan Tomás reaches here a very high and moving level of intensity.”


Félix Cabeza. Filmmaker and curator

© ON Art Space by Tila Barrena

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