Ichiro Kojima
November 15, 2020
Asae Kuroki
December 23, 2020

Michiko Chiyoda

(Tokyo, 1955)
I majored in graphic design at the university and learned photography at the same time. After graduating, I got a job as a designer at an advertising agency, and changed the job to the advertising and the public relations of the optical manufacturer. Then, I have seriously started making photography artworks.
My creating process is like a journey through the world I happened to fall in love with at the moment. And the journey is triggered by my memories, sentiments, thirstiness, or ambivalences deep inside of me. I feel, learn, and experience the world, and I extract my inner face. During the journey, a word finds me and starts stimulating my creative juice to flow to tell a story to be shared through my work.
In addition to various solo and group exhibitions not only domestically but also overseas, I have had actual achievements to be adopted by web magazines, winning awards, and being collected by an art museum and a photo foundation.

"A photo is a small voice, at best, but sometimes - just sometimes - one photograph or a group of them can lure our senses into awareness."
(W. Eugene Smith)

project description

I am ready to dream a dream with her


My dear Midori-San,

How have you been there since we last communicated?

I am still here and would like to ask you to wait for me for a while.
I want to reiterate how precious the moments I had with you are to me, as I look back over the five years we spent together while creating our works. I remember you said ‘thank you’ at times, but I am wondering how many times I said it to you, so I am writing you this letter.
I love your ‘SOMEBANA’ works, which are fabricated from your sensitive mind and fingers. It was five years ago, in the winter of 2015, when you asked me to join you in your work based on the theme of Prayer, I was absolutely thrilled. At the same time, however, I was shocked and lost for words upon your confession of having stage-3 cancer. “God knows my way to go from now on.” You simply added the phrase ---- as if you were trying to ease my silence. You always seemed to be imperturbably calm to me, and I assumed it was because you held certain prayers inside. I remember, I once asked what prayer meant to you. Your answer was “Prayer means dialogue with God, and my flowers embody it.” I am not sure I could understand it instantly, but I was mysteriously moved on the spot.
I visited Nagatsuka Monastery in Hiroshima, which you introduced me to, and at that time, my purpose was to try to find and understand the meaning of prayer for me. I spent days there, in a calm and silent environment surrounded by forest.

I tried to speak to myself, and seek my innermost essence. I think I could have experienced moments of being filled with gratitude, and I sometimes felt unstable arrogant emotions. I think that there, I discovered that prayer for me just meant my wishes. I knew I could do nothing for your fate. I have to admit, I was always frustrated that I had no power to change it and, as a result, I felt a tightness in my chest. One thing--just one thing--I could make up my mind there was that I would keep creating works with you, and keep dreaming a dream in which we share our joy in the accomplishment of our collaborations down the road. This finally made me feel like I was reaching prayer.
The monastery had many windows, and I stared at the holy, transparent streams of light they emitted, timelessly.
Your delight with the title of our work that I sent you never leaves my memory, and shortly returned, saying, ‘Souls never die.’ I hope you are also looking forward to meeting me, and just in case, I would like to make extra sure to let you know that you have to be prepared for my many questions that go along with my many thanks from the bottom of my heart.

Untitled, 2020 © Michiko Chiyoda
Untitled, 2019 © Michiko Chiyoda
Untitled, 2020 © Michiko Chiyoda
Untitled, 2019 © Michiko Chiyoda
Untitled, 2020 © Michiko Chiyoda
Untitled, 2018 © Michiko Chiyoda
Untitled, 2020 © Michiko Chiyoda
Untitled, 2019 © Michiko Chiyoda
Untitled, 2020 © Michiko Chiyoda
Untitled, 2019 © Michiko Chiyoda
Untitled, 2018 © Michiko Chiyoda
Untitled, 2020 © Michiko Chiyoda
project presentation

This is the concept

"Hello, I am Michiko Chiyoda. I am very happy that I can introduce my latest work. It is ‘the’ story of my friend and myself. She was a Christian living in Hiroshima and an artist of creating beautiful flowers from fabric. Four years ago, I took a role of a photographer to document her work. The theme of her work was “prayer.” At that time, she was fighting her illness, but she still managed to continue with her work, and was always in calm and peace. I was so moved by that. It was because of the prayer in the core of her mind, I believed. I asked her what prayer meant to you. Her answer was “Prayer means dialogue with God, and my flowers embody it.” I visited Nagatsuka Monastery in Hiroshima which she was associated with, to touch where her belief came from. And I have to say that I could just find it hard for me. But when I came to feel my intention to keep creating works with her, no matter what the consequence of her illness, one thing came clear to me was that I could keep it as a dream. The pictures here were taken at the Monastery. I added them some technical arrangements for realizing my impression of the holy place. I'm so glad that you appreciate this work. Thank you very much"

music: Atelier Amacha