TERAI Ichiyu (Kyoto, Japan). ‘White Hannya’ Nōh Mask, 2017. Cypress wood, natural paints (shell, mercury, carbon, ocher, gold), cotton cord. Museum of International Folk Art, IFAF Collection, (FA.2018.33.1). Photo by Addison Doty
SANTA FE ― The Museum of International Folk Art (MOIFA) presents Yokai: Ghosts and Demons of Japan, opening Dec. 8, and running until Jan. 10, 2021.
The Museum of International Folk Art will be one of the first museums to present a large-scale yokai-centered exhibition in the United States. Information on the public opening and associated programming included below.
Yokai are supernatural beings (like ghosts, demons, ogres, shapeshifters, and monsters) and strange, unexplainable phenomena. They gained popularity beyond religious contexts, beginning perhaps as early as the Muromachi period (1392-1573). These ghost and demon images have surfaced throughout Japanese history, and have even influenced modern entertainment and popular culture.
The Museum of International Folk Art’s exhibit features scroll paintings, woodblock prints, and kimonos as well as costumes, puppets, and masks used in classical theatrical performances. In addition, the exhibit will include demon festivals such as the Ushioni festival of Uwajima and the Namahage festival of Oga. Contemporary folk art includes works from master artists of Noh masks and Awa Ningnyo Jururi (puppets). While many of these items come from the existing permanent collection, the museum will collaborate with major institutions including the newly opened Yumoto Koichi Memorial Yokai Museum in Miyoshi City (Hiroshima Prefecture). The museum will also partner with artist Kono Junya of Kyoto-based art collective, Hyakuyōbako (“Box of 100 Yokai”) to create an immersive obake yashiki, (a Japanese-style ghost house).
The Museum of International Folk Art brings yokai to the United States so that audiences might glean insight and an appreciation for Japanese art and literature, as well as its influence on contemporary Japanese popular culture. Through Yokai: Ghosts and Demons of Japan, museum guests may contemplate what pop-culture looked like centuries ago, and why contemporary entertainment carried these supernatural figures into current media. Perhaps, like the people of 16th century Japan, today’s society still seeks to explain the strange and unknown pieces of the human experience.
Yokai: Ghosts and Demons of Japan is organized by Felicia Katz-Harris, senior curator and curator of Asian folk art.
1-4 p.m., Sunday,Dec. 8, 2019,Museum of International Folk Art, 706 Camino Lejo, on Museum Hill in Santa Fe, NM 87505. 505.476.1200.
In addition to participatory gallery crafts, the exhibition will include an immersive obake yashiki (a Japanese “ghost house”), a popular form of entertainment in Japanese amusement parks. Joe Hayes, American author and storyteller of the folklore from the American Southwest, will tell New Mexican ghost stories 1-2 p.m. along with Satori Murata who will be sharing Japanese ghost stories. From 2-4 p.m. artist Joel Nakamura will be leading a Yokai drawing workshop in the Atrium.
NM Resident Free Sundays
10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 1 and ongoing
New Mexico residents admitted FREE the first Sunday of each month. (Youth 16 and under and Museum of New Mexico Foundation members are always free.)
10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 1, “The Yokai Library.” Acquaint yourself with all manner of monsters in anticipation of MOIFA’s Yokai: Ghosts and Demons of Japan exhibition.
Sensory Sensitivity Hours during NM Resident Free Sundays
10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020 and ongoing
MOIFA is committed to offering an interactive experience that is accessible to all. During Sensory Sensitivity Hours, MOIFA extends a special invitation to learners with special needs to explore the Ghost House with their families when the exhibit is altered to reduce extra stimuli.