Archipelagic Thought was short residency, set in August, during the annual Obon celebration. It provided a unique chance to delve into Lucy's research within the socio-cultural setting of the Ryukyu archipelago. Centred on a critical reassessment of Shimao Toshio's Japanesia (Yaponesia) theory, her project aimed to access fresh viewpoints from various generational experiences in the southern islands. Lucy was curious to observe Shimao’s perception on the significance of the Pacific Ocean and island communities as a forgotten bedrock of Japan’s cultural life both in the past and present.
During Obon in Yaeyama, villages’ families pay homage to their ancestors by participating in various traditional rituals, sharing meals, exchanging stories, and strengthening social bonds. Together with Lucy, we witnessed the preparation of the Eisa (Eisaa) dance in Akaishi, a distinctive rendition of a celebration originating from Okinawa. The spirited atmosphere around the thirteen songs and performances provided a rich glimpse into the villages’ cultural heritage, fostering a sense of community and connection among the residents. We talked about the altering of the original dance and its willingness to include other village communities in the last round. Investigating the migration history of the villagers through the Eisa ceremony. is a research topic to pursue in the future at Ma Umi.
Lucy Fleming-Brown is presently pursuing advanced studies at the Graduate School of Global Arts, Tokyo University of the Arts, under the guidance of Professor Washida Meruro, with the generous support of a full scholarship from the Daiwa Foundation.
She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Japanese Studies from the University of Oxford in 2018, including a year of specialisation in Art History at Kobe University. During her Oxford tenure, Lucy completed the Japanese Art Special Subject course and delved into Japanese post-war photography for her dissertation. Since 2018, Lucy has contributed to the Michael Hoppen Gallery in London as a Gallery Assistant and Japanese Art Specialist. In this role, she has played a key part in bolstering the gallery's focus on Japanese photography, undertaking responsibilities such as artist/foundation liaison, acquisitions, and research.