Artists paint their dissent against Tokyo Olympics

A vast majority of Japanese people are apprehensive of the Tokyo Olympics being held this summer due to pandemic, but only a few artists venture to express their dissent through their artwork.

With Olympics flashes on a display in the vicinity of Japan’s national stadium, where a demonstration against the Games took place earlier this year, the  public dissent might have stifled now but artists continue to voice their concern through the brushes swirling on torn cardboard and drawing paper, using same five colors designated as symbols of the modern Olympiad.

The risk of infection has kept many dissenters, skeptic of Olympics from taking to the streets to express their frustration.According to artists they feel suffocated, nation’s largest cities Tokyo and Yokohama have imposed stringent policies on the homeless because of the Olympics. Public spaces that were once open are now unavailable.

Artists lament that in order to subvert the protests by artists and designers through their work such as T-shirts, drawings displaying satiric art and slogans, the official demand to shut such merchandise claiming them to be unpatriotic.

One such painting entitled “Vortex,” by Miwako Sakauchi show the “anger, fear, sense of contradiction and state violence” over the residents evicted and the trees felled so enormous Olympic stadiums could be built amidst the worldwide economic and health crisis.

According to Kai Koyama, the main organizer of the exhibition, said it is his professional duty to protest, even though he knows many Japanese are hesitant to openly show their opinions.

Some artists fulminate over their right to freedom of expression which has been violated as their feelings align with growing public disapproval of the games.
Photo/Eugene Hoshiko

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