Thursday, November 1, 2012

Tea/ Chai/茶

Tea/ Chai/茶
If there's anything I looked forward to the most during my trip to Japan, it definitely was the traditional tea drinking ceremony I always watched on tv and thankfully and very happily I finally had the opportunity to attend one, with our host making traditional green tea the traditional way, it was awesome!
It was so awesome that I had to title my final project chai which means tea in Japanese.
My stay in Yokohama was full of work, talking and more work!! Mari Ishiwata my host is a painter and it was amazing talking and sharing with her as an artist and just as a person.
There’s so much that happened that I don't even know where to begin but pictures say it best! Enjoy


i and ii above- Mari and me

Thanks Akane, Kana and Mrs Ishiwata for all the great food!!


iii & iv - PET bottles and their Labels. Very colorful!


v & vi- Glueing the cut up labels to the board


vii &viii- Koh and Akane helping out


ix, x & xi - At work with my project on PET bottles. There were lots of plastic bottle wastes (properly disposed and recycled too, we went to grab them from people's trash bags in the freezing morning cold before the trucks came for them loll). I am always to attracted to waste objects that I can find in large numbers.




 xii, xiii & xiv -My very first performance done with Mari Ishiwata based on the tea ceremony we went to watch days earlier and we decided to re create ours. For me I would say the performance was a reflection of how our society is gradually ( or rapidly in some cases) loosing old cultures, of which I have no problem with, its bound to happen anyway especially with the level of innovations we see and experience everyday, but none is documented therefore we are loosing our history and true essence. Old cultures are now transformed to align with modern life and trends. Tea says a lot!! Visitors who came to watch us also re enacted their own tea ceremonies. It was fun to watch.

It was a looonnnng day but fun!!!

Just a few of the many guests that visited the Ishiwata residence during my stay. Thanks all for coming, you guys made me feel like a star!!


xv, xvi, xvii & xviii -Mari and I gave a talk about our experiences and work together on the opening of our exhibition at the "Hot Pot", Asahi-Ku, Yokohama, Japan. The show also moved to another venue Yokohama Creative City Centre, Naka-ku, Yokohama, Japan

The guests at the opening of our exhibition.

Mari and me

Koh and me

A big thank you to every one who made my stay a wonderful one. Thank you Akane, Kana, Mr Iwai Shigeaki, to all the wonderful people who made out time to visit us at the Ishiwata residence, Mari and Aya Ishiwata, Mr and Mrs Isiwata (they came everyday to visit us) and of course to Koh Kuroki, a BIG thank you for making all it happen.

Below is my statement on the work I created and the photographs from the previous blog.

Artist Statement

Before now when I think Japan, what goes through my mind is Kimonos, wooden chalets, tea and even samurais with swords. Everything mentioned have become ancient history except for tea which still plays a major role in Japanese life but it has evolved and the process altered with time.
That’s my stereotype on Japan, just as other people have stereotypes of Africa.
Stereotypes are man made creations and illusions hinted and propagated by images from the media so with staged images and pieces of pet bottles, labels and newspaper, I hope to reflect the staged and man made stereotypes that exist from place to place and time to time, the dissemination of culture and the illusion of beauty in this modern age, that is sought after daily in the lives of people here in Japan and quite a similar tale from back home in Nigeria.
This project examines broader issues of relationships between time and space, illusions and reality, legitimacy and authenticity as it relates to media reportage. 
My objective is to hopefully awaken the audience’s ethnographic scrutiny of contemporary life, and consumerism in modern times both in Africa and Japan.

For more on this project and the Homestay programme, please check out these links

My next blog will dance to the tune of UB40's Chery o chery o Limbe!! ( well baby actually)

Also you can now follow me on twitter my handle is @greenpaintbowl.


  1. SO cool, Taiye. Lovely pictures.
    Tea is chai/shai/tchai in many many world languages - from Japanese (I guess) to Hindi, Arabic, ... Hausa