The hyperreal quality of Nakagawa’s photographs of the towering BANTA cliffs stems from the artist’s use of digital technology – he stitched together multiple exposures to create images in which every plane is in razor-sharp focus and dizzying perspectives. For the GAMA caves, Nakagawa illuminated the dark and airless caves with his flashlight, splashing the wall during long exposures. The artist, who was born in New York and raised in Tokyo, was drawn to the cliffs and caves (known as banta and gama in Okinawan) because of their sever beauty and their emotionally complex history. When American forces invaded Okinawa in spring 1945, thousands of Okinawans threw themselves off the cliffs and took their lives with hand grenade in the caves. The circumstances surrounding the mass suicides remain controversial: according to survivors’ accounts, Japanese military officers ordered civilians to commit suicide to avoid the shame of capture and to save dwindling food supplies for the troops.
- Art form: 2-D
- Medium: Archival inkjet prints
- Width: 20"
- Year created: 2008
- Height: 66"