While in Tokyo I, alongside many others, attended the Basara exhibition at the Spiral Gallery. An interesting visual intermingling that highlighted aesthetic beauty and resistance simultaneously, two subjects I am particularly fond of.
A number of creatives contributed in an diversse swash of mediums but those I readily recognized and/or am a fan of were: Shige, Tenmyuouya Hishashi, Ikeda Manabu, Maru Waka, Tetsuya Noguchi, and Hitozuki.
The contribution of most interest to me, socially speaking, was Shige's clientèle. The significance of this will not likely present itself unless one has a broad understanding of (assuming the reader does) tattoo culture in Japan but, to my knowledge, this was the first exhibition of live tattooed bodies at a substantial public space within Japan in modern history.
Although, in Japan there are other times tattoos are displayed in public, such as the Sanja Festival in Asakusa, this display by the Yakuza is not officially sanctioned. Nor is notice taken by those in the "high art" (hate that phrase) circle of snobbery.
Also, as the NSKolectiv we did do an exhibition of live backpieces in Osaka during 2007, but this milestone is not as significant as the current for two reasons: 1) As was all things we did/do the event was intentionally DIY, taking place at the Three Tides Gallery which is located below a tattoo workspace. Therefore the expected attendees were directly associated with the local tattoo community not the overall civilian population. 2) We, as foreigners, were allowed a certain degree of social lax in which to put something like that on.
Spiral Gallery, on the other hand, is a public art space in the heart of Tokyo. The exhibition was sanctioned by a third party not directly associated with tattooing. Shige's work was tethered with other creatives working in more socially acceptable mediums. Anyone could attend and a broad array of people did from an equally broad cross section of social sects, which are much more defined than, for instance, back in the States.
I was duly impressed by the significance of the event. Was an honor to see something like that go down. Well played.