Sunshower Tokyo: Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia

It would be remiss to visit Tokyo without perusing its stellar collection of traditional Japanese art – from Utamaro’s alabaster ladies to Hokusai’s iconic waves.

However, this summer, the Nippon capital is being treated to a rather more contempo, wide-ranging spectacle. The starriest exhibition of the year, Sunshower will showcase the largest collection of Southeast Asian art ever to grace the city.

Among the thought-provoking works by 86 established talents (pouring in from Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, Singapore, The Philippines, Malaysia, Laos, Indonesia, Cambodia and Brunei) are famed photomedia creator and film producer Yee I-Lann, performance artist Lee Wen and Venice Biennale 2011 rep Jompet Kuswidananto. 

Works will be exhibited across nine distinct categories, exploring themes spanning diverse cultural identities to revolution, spirituality and daily life via a series of large-scale installations, interactive artworks, painting, sculpture, and more, dating back to the 1980s.

Ones to watch out for include Felix Bacolor’s Stormy Weather, brought to life via more than 1,000 colourful wind chimes suspended from the ceiling; Liew Kung Yu’s whopping, eye-popping collage City of Towering Columns, musing on Malaysia’s urban density; and Navin Rawanchaikul’s A Tale of Two Homes, a real-life replica of his father’s fabric shop at Warorot Market, Chiang Mai, inside which you’ll spot a series of intricate paintings of his family and other shopkeepers from the market.

If that weren’t enough, taking place alongside the various exhibits are a series of fascinating cultural programs including talks by artists and gallery curators, as well as dedicated sessions for kids of all ages, seniors, families, teachers, and the visually or hearing impaired.

Housing this incredible showcase are two of Roppongi’s most prolific cultural hotspots, located within but a chopstick's toss of one another. Begin your gallery gander at dramatic, contempo space Mori Art Museum (also repping sky-high resto The Moon plus an observation deck with stagger city vistas), then hotfoot it over to the star-chitectural National Art Center to view the remaining works.

Once you’ve ticked off the must-sees, reflect over lunch at swish Brasserie Paul Bocuse ( , serving terrific value Gallic plates, then finish with a spot of retail at the nifty gift shop, stacked with the best in Japanese design and contempo souvenirs. Book tickets in advance or buy the Museum Link pass to avoid queues.

Sunshower runs until 23 Oct, 2017.

This article was originally written by LUXE for PenCities.

For more art finds in the Japanese capital, nab a copy of the LUXE Tokyo Guide...

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Liv Berry

Liv left behind the lanes, arcades, and wide-open plains of Melbourne for the concrete jungle of Hong Kong, joining the team at LUXE after a stint at Swire Hotels. 

  • Liv LOVES... Escaping the city, sailing the seas of the Gulf of Gokova, unspoiled beaches in southern Sri Lanka
  • Liv LOATHES... Smartphone syndrome, turbulence

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