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CJS Thursday Noon Lecture Series | Metaphors in Matter: Environmental Consciousness and Symbolic Explorations

Yuken Teruya, Berlin-based Okinawan artist
Thursday, February 22, 2024
12:00-1:30 PM
Room 1010 Weiser Hall Map
Attend in person or via Zoom. Zoom registration at

In this artist's talk, Yuken Teruya will delve into three of his artworks.

“Notice-Forest” ingeniously transforms a disposable paper bag into a symbolic tree, conveying a potent message about environmental awareness.

The series “You-I, You-I,” now part of the British Museum's collection, seamlessly explores Okinawa's cultural nuances, bridging past and present through the vibrant Bingata fabric.

In the impactful piece “Monopoly,” the artist uses toy currency to delve into the pervasive influence of symbols, prompting viewers to reflect on the deeper implications of these symbols within our societal dynamics.

Via the medium of everyday materials, the works of Yuken Teruya ( b. Okinawa, 1973) address contemporary social issues such as consumerist culture, globalism, and the environment. Also, he visualizes the ongoing complexities of his homeland, Okinawa, through his keen insight and refined skills, to quietly stimulate the viewer's thoughts. Teruya’s recent exhibitions include Yuken Teruya Heavy Pop Okinawa at the Okinawa Prefectural Museum and Art Museum (2023); Yuken Teruya Chorus at the Naha Cultural Arts Theater NAHArt; Yuken Teruya On Okinawa: Collections from the past and the future at the Dahlem Ethnological Museum and Museum of Asian Art (Humboldt-Lab Dahlem) Berlin (2014–2015); Lost Found Yuken Teruya at the Live Forever Art Foundation, Taichung (2018); and WE BELONG HERE at the Piero Atchugarry Gallery, Miami (2020). Teruya also created a public art project, “Me/You” (2018), with the Okinawa Times Newspaper Company, Japan. In past years, Teruya's work was also featured in the 12th Shanghai Biennale “Proregress: Art in an Age of Historical Ambivalence” at the Power Station of Art (2018–2019); Japanext: Contemporary Visual Arts & Culture Since 1970 at the Centre Pompidou-Metz (2016–2017); Who interprets the world? at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa (2015); Paper at the Saatchi Gallery London (2013); The Shapes of Space at the Guggenheim, New York (2007); Greater New York 2005 at the MoMA PS1 contemporary art center, New York; and various other exhibitions in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Teruya's work is included in the public collections of the British Museum; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Guggenheim, New York; Flag Art Foundation, New York; the Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; the Charles Saatchi Collection, London; and the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, among others.

This lecture is made possible with the generous support of the U.S. Department of Education Title VI grant.

If there is anything we can do to make this event accessible to you, please contact us at Please be aware that advance notice is necessary as some accommodations may require more time for the university to arrange.
Building: Weiser Hall
Event Type: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: Asia, japan, Visual Arts
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Center for Japanese Studies, International Institute, Asian Languages and Cultures