Photo credit: Gui Martinez

Lieko Shiga


Born in 1980 in Okazaki (Japan), lives and works in Miyagi (Japan).

In her photographs, Lieko Shiga combines ancient local myths with stories, memories, feelings and personal experiences gathered from the people she encounters in her daily life. Her fantastic images evoke the twilight zone between dream and reality, without using digital retouching. Her oftentimes dark oeuvre is deeply rooted in Japanese folk traditions and attests to the omnipresence of the supernatural in everyday life in the country. Her works tend to give visual form to what she calls the ‘eternal present’, a moment neither past nor future, suspended in space-time.

Human Spring (2019) is the final part of a trilogy that began when the artist moved from Tokyo to the coastal town of Kitakama in the northern Tohoku region in 2008. As she settled in this community, she quickly found herself its official photographer, documenting the history of this region as well as its rites and customs through her images and sound recordings. Following the major catastrophe of March 2011, Lieko Shiga stayed in Kitakama, not to bear witness to the disaster, but rather to continue her photographic research into the influence of natural phenomena such as the passage of the seasons on the human body and mind.

In 2021, Lieko Shiga received the prestigious Tokyo Contemporary Art Award. The Human Spring series was presented in a solo exhibition at the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum (2019). Her work has also been shown at the 5th Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art, Ekaterinenburg (2019), the Centre Pompidou-Metz (2017) and the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (2017).