AO 青 2022 20.39 min

A deep crevice lies like a crack in the landscape on the Southern tip

of the small Japanese island Yonaguni, close to Taiwan. A sign made

of stone on site states that during the Ryukyu dynasty in the 18th

century, pregnant women were forced to jump over this cliff to prevent


The gap is about three meter wide, fifteen meters long and about seven

meters deep. Standing next to it seems impossible to jump. A buddha

statue sits on the side of the cliff with numerous coins in his lap, oxidised

by the salted sea water nearby. It’s a small shrine to commemorate the

people who perished here.

Many historical events have been mythologized and though I hope

this is the case here it seems that the story of the Kubura-bari ( 久 良

バリ ) as this place is called, is at least partly based on true events.

Today, the island has a declining population. Close to the Kuburabari,

the frame of a once flourishing sugar cane factory remains. Most of

the buildings on the island are made of concrete. In 2016 a military base

and radar tower were built on the island that has about 1500 inhabitants,

drawing attention to its location. Along the shoreline you can find the

skeletons of horses.

Small slender horses that appear to be from another time live free on

this volcanic island, close to its edges on the rugged coast. Like trees

growing close to the shore their mane is shaped by the wind. They play

a leading role in three short films I made between 2017 and 2021.

In Shio (2018) attributing to the meaning of ‘tide’ they are seen

ambling about, defying the elements of nature as a young Japanese girl

tries to coax her horse into the sea. Both the horses and girl seem to be

waiting for someone or something to arrive.

This might be the little girl wearing a purplish-gray horse suit with

blue mane that wanders seemingly unnoticed through Japanese urban

landscapes until she ends up on the island where she finds kinship

with the horses alongside the coast (Yorishiro 2020). Yorishiro refers to

something or someone that can contain a spirit or soul of a ‘kami, a

spirit of nature possessing magical qualities.

The young girl in Ao (2021) explores the rough landscape of the island

on her dancing shoes and bare feet. She meets the girl from Shio who

braids her hair and plays with her. Eventually she comes face to face

with the crevice on the island, looking down into its dark past.

The girls connect to their surroundings, each in their own element,

their energy and poise seem to override the oppressive history

surrounding the Kubura-bari. Changing an atmospheric energy, like

angels going back in time to change the future.