Jakarta, IO – ‘Fragile Gift’, initiated by Jun Kitazawa, is designed as a long-term project that will explore the history of the Japanese occupation in Indonesia and its legacies. While the Japanese occupation was rather short, at just three and a half years, it deeply traumatized the Indonesian people. The Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa, a tactical fighter aircraft used by the Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF) during World War II, became Jun Kitazawa’s point of departure, in his exposition of something often absent in mainstream historical narratives in Japan.
This exhibition is the first step toward a ‘Fragile Gift’ project, which will open on 6 July 2022 at Galeri Lorong, Yogyakarta, and run until 2 August. This is also Jun Kitazawa’s first solo exhibition in Indonesia. Previously, the Japanese artist, who now lives in Yogyakarta, worked on a project titled ‘Nowhere Oasis’, which was inspired by angkringan in Yogyakarta. The angkringan was brought to Tokyo, and in collaboration with Indonesians living there, an angkringan stall was opened on the side of the road. Through the project, Kitazawa sought to bring out the ‘everyday aesthetics’ that he perceived as being lost in Japanese society. The project received a lot of attention from the Tokyo public, and was featured in one of the side events of Biennale Jogja Equator 5 in 2019.
His meetings with people in Indonesia, including several living under the Japanese occupation, encouraged Kitazawa to work on this ‘Fragile Gift’ project. From these meetings, Kitazawa acquired many stories about life in Indonesia, especially in Java, during those times.
In this exhibition, Kitazawa displays works, including part of the work in progress: the Hayabusa kite that is planned to be flown in Japan. Parts of the planned work include a wing piece, an airplane wing tail, and a kite tail that is 30 meters long and 4.5 meters wide. On the tail of the kite are printed 61 quotes from survivors, or people who had lived through the Japanese era. The quotes were collected from various sources available online, namely YouTube channels (media interviews and documentation), mass media, and quotes from the Tokyo Tribunal archives.