Mika Shimauchi

THE WEED MAN, 2023, Acrylic paint on canvas, Collage, H910 × W727 × D25mm (F30)
The image courtesy of the artist

There are weeds growing in the garden,
the speed at which they grow is frightfully fast and troublesome, but
The power of weeds to grow on their own carefree
I see this is the ideal image I aspire to as an artist.
I think this power of life growing by itself was a superpower.
I made an American comic hero (or a villain?) the Weed Man.
A hero with superpowers who is covered with grass and dirt and whose grass grows with great speed.
Its shape is based on Pantu, the visiting spirit who appears on Miyakojima, Okinawa Prefecture,
It's based on Chewbacca from Star Wars.

About series of the visiting spirits

As a symbol of recovery from the 2016 Kumamoto earthquake, Mifune-machi attracted Costco (USA's warehouse supermarket) to the affected area, and it emerged in 2021. People grabbing hot dogs, drinking large juices and pulling oversized shopping carts.
It was big news locally in Kumamoto, and we welcomed Costco.
It looked like Santa Claus, a visiting sprit from the sea who gave grace to those of us affected. On the other hand, I realized that there are Distorted power balance between Japan and the US still now since after the world warⅡ.
While I feel uncomfortable that Mayor of Mifune-machi did indeed use the term "symbol of reconstruction," it also makes me think that the Sirens (characters) of Starbucks and the characters of McDonald's may have been visiting sprits. (Though they don't go back yet)
 As I look at the benefits that this brings, and how the landscape is unconsciously becoming Americanized, I have mixed feelings about whether this is a good thing.
The reason I became interested in the visiting sprits was that I started living in southern Kyushu, where the culture of the visiting sprits remains. As I research Boze (Akuseki-jima Island), Mendon (Iwo-jima Island), etc., I am reminded of the hidden wild and feel elated when I see the wild beauty and their violent side such as rampage and beating.
They are both inside (a part of me, an indigenous existence) and outside (deities from outside). In addition, there seems to be a hint of how we will cope with and coexist with the awe-inspiring things that came from outside, and in August, we will research Boze, the visiting sprits of Akuseki-jima Island, and plan to produce a large-scale planar work.

Editor: Aura Contemporary Art Foundation