In the 1971 revolutionary essay “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?”, Linda Nochlin investigates the institutional limitations that have prevented women from being equal participants in art history, as well as the many ways that women have historically been marginalised.
One of the obvious reasons was that until the 19th century women were not allowed to obtain a higher education. When they were finally permitted to study art, they were not allowed to attend live drawing sessions from a nude models, which was an essential chapter of an artist’s education in the 19th century. This forced those few women who actually studied to focus on subjects that were lower in the hierarchy of artistic values like still life or landscape. If we add to this life circumstances like poverty, social duties, family obligations and children carrying, it is no surprise that women had much smaller chances to reach to the same level as their male contemporaries.
Nochlin encourages art institutions and historians to probe deeper into this inequity, and she believes that by doing so we can positively shape the future of arts as a whole.
Now, over 50 years since the essay’s publication, we are finally starting to see global trends toward greater diversity, with particular attention given to liberating art history and other cultural narratives from the Western white male perspective. That being said, art history is nonlinear, and it often unfolds in leaps and bounds. Some female artists have been able to overcome the prejudices against their sex and leave their mark in the world of art, while others are still hidden in the shadows of history.
One such artist is Katsushika Oi, daughter of famed ukiyo-e master Hokusai. We are delighted to announce that ONA will be hosting a series of exhibitions inspired by her life and work from September to December 2022, which we have entitled “汽水域 Kisuiiki”.
Katsushika Oi was an artist herself, and she was closely involved in her father’s art practice through the many years of his career. Her exceptional technical skill and unique way of seeing the world—including her sensitivity and female perspective—helped her to create her own original style, in addition to contributing to many works Hokusai created. For instance, there might be Oi's hands merged into Hokusai's painted waves. In this sense, Hokusai's water is like the estuary of Sumida River: kisui, the merging of freshwater and seawater.
Nevertheless, we know so little about Oi’s work and life, for after her father’s death she disappeared and only few of her paintings survived. How much of her life and work was inspired by Hokusai? How much of her story can be an inspiration for a new generation of female artists?
For 汽水域/Kisuiiki, we sought to answer these questions by inviting four contemporary female artists—Yulia Skogoreva, Yumi Arai, Aduki Kon, and Hanna Saito—to dive in and commingle with the "waters" of Oi's story.
Each artist will be given a solo show, during which she will present works exploring diverse subject matters such as “father and daughter relationships”, “art and domestic space”, “femininity”, and “magic”. The four exhibitions will look back in to the past at the same time as they gaze forward into the future. We aim to find a harmony and resonance between contemporary female artists who are based in Japan, and we hope to create a space that will be like kisuiiki—a meeting point of the past and the present, of the self and the other. 
The project will run from September to December, with one artist hosting their work each month. Please note that each artist will also conduct one workshop during the exhibition period, during which members of the public will be invited to participate in our explorations as well.

Organised by: ONA project room​​​​​​​, Sumi-Yume Executive Committee, Sumida City
Arts Council Tokyo, Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture.


浮世絵師として有名な北斎の娘、葛飾応為もその一人です。今回オナプロジェクトルームでは2022年9月から12月にかけて、彼女の生涯とその仕事に触発され構成した展覧シリーズ「汽水域 Kisuiiki」を開催いたします。

本展示「汽水域 Kisuiiki」では、4人の現代女性アーティストユーリア・ スコーゴレワ、荒井佑実、近あづき、齋藤 帆奈が応為の物語の”水”へ飛び込み、混ざり合います。
 主催:ONA project room、「隅田川 森羅万象 墨に夢」実行委員会
協賛:株式会社東京鋲兼、 東武鉄道株式会社​​​​​​​
※ 「隅田川 森羅万象 墨に夢」実行委員会 事務局は(公財)墨田区文化振興財団が担っています。

Kisuiiki program schedule:
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