Natsuko Kitamura

Participation from the 12th March until 6th April 2014.

“As “Omiyage” is a representative characteristic of a country, and by showing this to other people, we spread that country’s culture to other countries”

 Natsuko Kitamura

Natsuko Kitamura is an artist (craft, sculpture, paint) from Tokyo. She creates installations about the strange and funny habits of daily life. During Kitamura’s stay with Deshima AIR in Amsterdam, she wanted to make a ‘Omiyage’ for the Netherlands. Omiyage is the Japanese word for souvenir and Japans souvenir culture is quite unique. It does not only entail the local products of a certain region, but also the gifts you would bring to family and friends when visiting them. A souvenir to Kitamura is also something that helps country’s culture spread from one to another. She also made drawings of things that to her were the charms of the Netherlands. She studied the characteristics, industry, culture, life of the Netherlands (Amsterdam) in order to make “Dutch souvenirs”.

During her stay, she researched this Japanese Phenomena of ‘Omiyage’, and presented it on the 5th of April 2014 in ‘t Japans Cultuur Centrum. Kitamura also created and displayed a new ‘Omiyage’, which was based on the specific character of the Netherlands.

  The ‘Omiyage’ was based on things she loved in the Netherlands and the stories that she could tell to her friends and family back in Japan. She especially loved the Dutch kroket, bitterballen and stroopwafels.

 “She had created Omiyage in the shape of typical Dutch snacks such as ‘croquettes’ and so-called ‘bitterballs’. Strikingly enough she’d given the snacks little legs, which made me think of the Dutch expression “the food has gotten legs”. An expression that is used for food that has started to mould and looks as if it’s coming alive and is about to walk away on its own new-grown legs.”

Jan van den Berg, film director and performer

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