Japan, the artist Shimabuku works with places and people, often resulting in humorous works about everyday life. Using a variety of formats including film, video, text, performance and installation, he revisits local traditions and hidden histories by transporting them into unlikely contexts.
Following his first research visit to
Wentworth Street in east
London, Shimabuku was struck by how closely the area related to his previous life. For him, it read like an family album; a collected record of experiences and memories. In this project he presented a retrospective of his work inspired by the local shops and businesses that evoked these associations. Former works took on a new life and visitors were encouraged to explore their own connections with
Sakepirinha is a cocktail invented by the sizeable Japanese community living in
Sao Paulo in
Brazil. Shimabuku introduced this drink to the Brazilian Café Bankete located just off
Wentworth Street. Here the artist installed a neon sign advertising Sakepirinha where the cocktail was served throughout his project.
During his initial visit to the area, he found “King Octopus” - a large painted mural representing an octopus on the outside of the
EastLondonCommunitySchool – a resource for children living in a nearby housing estate. Shimabuku has made a number of works in the past about octopuses and this discovery seemed hugely coincidental. In response, he organised a celebratory event in the School honouring the octopus and young people were invited to draw, discuss and celebrate King Octopus.
Shimabuku was also struck by the huge number of cardboard boxes strewn throughout the area from the street market and large number of textile importers based in the area. Intrigued by the provenance of the these boxes, which have often travelled circuitous journeys across the globe, he made a new work charting the family tree of one box. Then finally, a giant sized cardboard box was erected in The Shop protruding out of the front façade and into the street.