Aki Yahata, b.1985, Japan

Aki Yahata lives in Kyoto, where she established HENKYO.studio in 2020. Yahata completed her MFA in the Department of Intermedia Art at Tokyo University of the Arts. Then, out of the need for creative knowledge, she enrolled herself in the Graduate School of Medicine, Shiga University of Medical Science, graduated in 2020, and obtained her license as a medical doctor. Yamata’s works care for the individuals in the margins of society. The protagonists in her videos have featured vagrants, individuals living in solitude deep in the mountains, among others. Through her works, the artist raises her inquiries into social systems as well as demonstrates her humanistic concern.

Aki Yahata’s research in recent years has been mostly around the acts of “eating with hands.” Eating with hands was once the most natural act of humankind, which faded away in the process of civilization, nevertheless. Beshbarmak in the title refers to the traditional meat dish in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan in central Asia, which literally means “five fingers” for the way to enjoy this dish, but the name was believed to be named by the Russian colonizer. This tradition has decreased after the cultural invasion in the Soviet period. This work interweaves the footages shot locally, a Kazakh woman’s memory of Beshbarmak, the poem of a young poet who fled from Russia to avoid war, and the singing of a Kazakh rap singer, elucidating that despite the change to the form of presentation in time, the essence of a culture remains with the people. (Z.Y)

Music Composition Support|ARShAT, TOBE
“Et”|Elmira Kakabayeva
“Far Away From Home”|Ryuzaki(Reading|Tagir Gilmutdinov, Translation|William Andrews)
Teshoku Website Logo Design|Mieno Ryu
Teshoku Website and Logo Direction|NakamotoMasaki (UNGLOBALSTUDIOKYOTO)

*Aki Yahata launched an Online Archive of Eating with hands Cultures. Anthropologists and people who are familiar with each country’s Eating with Hands Cultures are introducing their culture by way of scientific research and/or essays. You can visit the website by QR code.

  • Don't Call It Beshbarmak, 2022

    2022, three-channel video installation, 10'42"