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Artist statement - Midori Takaki

For Japanese people, I can safely say the Silk Road starts at Xi’an. In their mind, it goes to natural wonders like the Rainbow mountains, the flaming mountains, the Taklamakan desert and the Tarim basin; arid climate covered with sands and rocks. It is such a contrast to our lush and green country. Beyond that, we vaguely imagine there was the Persian Empire, the place of stories, jewels, wealth, spice and power. There were lots of domed buildings and desert people on camels there. 

With the joint project with Rosalind, I realised that there are big differences between our perceptions of the Silk Road/Routes.  I exploited the gap, and created the Japanese view of the Silk Road for my first works of the project.

There must be so many various views to the Silk Road over the world. The descendants of horse traders, of oases inhabitants, of caravanserai owners, of bandits who attacked traders must see it in different lights.  I would like to know how they view the world’s most famous trading route. If this exhibition would be a start of it, I would be very happy.

Having said that, neither British nor Japanese had actively traded on the route, let alone being on the route. Still the significance of the trade route was so great that it gave our ancestors huge influence. In fact, most parts, if not all, of Eurasia, the Indian sub-continent, Arabian Peninsula and Eastern and Norther parts of Africa had been affected by the trading.

With all the current political problems we face, I think this is even more remarkable than before.

I propose that this is not just an art exhibition, but it has the elements of history, anthropology and storytelling. The vast wealth was made on silk, which was used as currency in parts of the route. Silk was very luxurious, and it still is even though it has reduced in value. It can be said that vast wealth came from silk moth coons. I think that is the most amazing part of the history.





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