Shiriagari Kotobuki’s (しりあがり寿) work was refreshingly uplifting after the gloominess of Matsui. One of the older artists in the exhibition, Shiriagari is a manga illustrator by profession and he clearly finds his job stifling. In explaining his installation, he wrote:
“I just want to paint a big picture with no end to it. That’s how I feel after ding nothing but drawing cartoons day after day. Cartoons have a beginning and an end. Day after day, I draw picures that are neatly contained in frames. I must stay within the frame and the page, and I must meet the deadline. . . Some day I want to be free of it all. . . I want to paint following my hand rather than my head or heart. I want to transfer my eyes, my heart, and my head into my hand and just paint.”
So what did he do? He covered the walls of a room in white sheets and just went nuts. The above sketch is of his general plan for the installation. He couldn’t get away from speech bubbles on some of the people he drew but there certainly was no discernable beginning or end to My Kingdom is this Big! It must have been good therapy for Shiriagari, who incidentally was honoured with the Prize for Excellency in Manga at the Tezuka Osamu Culture Awards in 2001 for Yaji and Jita in Deep.
© Catherine Munroe Hotes 2006