Multimedia artist Masako Miki navigates diverse mediums, including textile sculpture, watercolor, and outdoor public installations to explore the intersection of mythology, folklore, and contemporary social issues.
The piece on the outside of YBCA takes inspiration from Hyakki Yagyō (Night Parade of One Hundred Demons), in which demons, spirits, and monsters roam the streets of Japan by night. This element of Japanese folklore has been depicted in various forms of art and literature for centuries. The purpose of the parade can vary, from causing chaos to celebrating supernatural entities.
The work embodies the essence of Miki’s Shapeshifters—characters brimming with anger and discontent due to societal neglect. They serve as metaphors for the struggle for individuality, equity, and respect in a world filled with systemic challenges and prejudices. Simultaneously, the work portrays how we continuously endeavor our challenges together. Set against the backdrop of the Yerba Buena Gardens, they encourage unexpected encounters, compelling viewers to pause and reflect on the provocative narrative and their connection to it. Miki punctuates the daily routines of passersby, inviting them to question, imagine, and engage with the enigmatic world of Night Parade. Just as humanity has evolved through the ages, so too have the stories we tell. Miki reminds us that the journey towards empathy and social justice resonates across cultures and generations.
This public artwork is a part of Bay Area Now 9 and is supported by the Office of Mayor London N. Breed and the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development.
Exterior Lobby Windows, YBCA
b. 1973, Osaka, Japan
Lives and works in Berkeley
Hyakki Yagho, Night Parade of One Hundred Demons – One Million Years of Journey with Ruby Red Fox and Their Company, 2023
Courtesy the artist