Acrylic on canvas
50 x 50 cm
Japanese Junior High and High School Girls – recognizable by their school uniform – are living a dazzling and radiant existence. Surrounded by fashion, music, cute things, and sweet confections they like; they smile together and spend their time with their friends. But, at the same time, their minds are filled with anxiety, and their hearts are held down by dark thoughts and feelings. They study the things they might never find useful in the future, they want to belong in a clique, they don’t want to be outcasts, and they want to maintain their relationships with their peers. They are anxious about the things that await them in the future when they finally enter “the real world”. They feel uncertain, and they sense a vague kind of anxiety about their future. That is the bitter and sweet circumstances of their lives. Seifuku – their school uniform – represents modern Japanese girls’ complex situation. Seifuku is a symbol of purity; yet, at the same time, is also a symbol of sexuality. This is something most Japanese people understand without needing to hear a lot of additional explanations.School uniform is much more than the clothing Junior High and High School girls have to wear. Their uniform binds them with a certain organization (namely: their school), defines their roles, and gives them a sense of community as well as a place to belong. Being a part of a community reduces their individuality; yet, at the same time, protects them from attacks and ridicules. But, school uniform is not necessarily bland and generic because – within certain limits – these girls are allowed to customize and style their uniform to express their uniqueness as well as their affiliations with their cliques. Girls can only wear their seifuku for a limited number of years. So, it can be said that the time they spend in their uniform is a “privileged time”. The world they are living in would not last forever. As they grow, their sweet confections and fluffy teddy bears are going to be further and further away from their lives.
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