The outbreak of COVID-19 since 2020 has had a major impact on the world and has changed the lives and ways of thinking of many people.
With restrictions on movement and extremely low direct interaction, Hama says that he has found himself pondering more and more, and has become increasingly questioning of himself. Before long he found himself becoming clearer in his answers and choices, and more determined in his mind.
For him as an artist, it has also been a time of pure communication between himself and the work born out of him. In addition, communicating with others through art has also led to a reaffirmation that it is possible to interact with deep and sensitive parts of human feelings and thoughts. Hama immigrated to the Netherlands in 2018, which was also a time of conflict for him. He questioned himself on what was missing in his expression, what was missing in his art, and what is really necessary for art. He began to feel possibilities of making a change by adding new colors to his traditional monochrome expression. In this exhibition, colors appear in his black and white world, and in this world the mutant PUMAN appears.
In curating this exhibition, I found that by discovering his "changes" in faraway Netherlands through his art, we can also reexamine the "changes" in our thinking and viewpoints in Japan. Each "mutation" is being born there.
Hama has been continuing to draw for many years as if he was making a picture diary. This is pure energy, a realization of his daily psychology, and when they are brought together paintings are produced. PUMAN, who appears in this exhibition, came to be from inside of Hama who continues to think and create during this time of chaos in the world. He says that PUMAN's expressions and movements are innocent and blank.
Therefore, when we face PUMAN, regardless of whether it is the artist or a viewer, his expression changes depending on one’s feelings, almost as if we are looking in a mirror. He doesn’t only respond to positive emotions, but also sometimes to negative ones. PUMAN is a self-portrait of Hama, a portrait of the viewer, and he has a "presence" that reflects the purest parts of human beings that everyone has. In addition, “KŪKAN” and “HARMONY,” which are both art series which represent Hama’s work, look like streams of air and water, but also appear to be microscopic creatures. These seem to form a vast world seen collectively or discretely with a bird’s eye view. Each grain could be PUMAN, or us humans, or some other kind of organism. Or it may be that it is an enlarged part, like the world seen through a microscope, and it may actually be that these fine particles are what make up life. These series also change depending on the feelings and thoughts of the viewer at the time.
A room with an alcove located at the back of a white cube (which Hama has named "Oku-no-in" for this exhibition) has become a tense yet serene place. It is also at this exhibition that we will present his first attempt at three dimensional art, “KŪKAN.” A series of twisted black cubes with white lines on each side deceive the viewer. However, you will find that this artwork, while it shakes, is in exquisite physical and mental harmony. When standing face to face with the art in the "Oku-no-in" you will be able to look back at the honest feelings and thoughts deep inside youself. When I return to the white cube and face the various depictions of PUMAN once more, I think will be able to reaffirm the “changes" I see in the world connection he describes.
As the times and environment change, so do the people who live in them. I hope that each person will experience the "MUTANT" within themselves through this exhibition. And, by sharing these “mutations," I look forward to the creation of new forms of communication for both viewpoints and values.

“MUTANT” Solo exhibition at MARUEIDO JAPAN in Tokyo, Japan
Curator : Kentaro Watanabe
Photo: Ken Kato

In Mutation Daijiro introduces us to the developing character of Puman: a seemingly solitary (self) portrait. Puman represents a side of him that is closely connected to nature. Muku, as he likes to call it: the pure and unspoiled.
Moreover, looking into the spotless eyes of Puman we can find a part of ourselves. Is it possible that everyone houses a Puman? Or is that a result of the recent global changes? We have seen ourselves a lot lately…
We also see a Mutation in Daijiro’s recent technique. For his Paris exhibition he started using colour to emphasize the monochrome origin of his work.

In your solo show you introduce the character of Puman to us.
Puman is a self-portrait but it is the viewer’s portrait too. It is like a mirror that reflects a certain part of us. In the process of digging deep into my inner world, it appeared to me as a character. Puman is something that I hate but it is always showing up in the end. I need to accept it, even though I don’t like it. At times, it can be natural and honest, but it can also give trouble. Maybe everyone has this kind of side. Puman often shows his face like Muku. Muku means innocent and pure when translated. What I’m trying to say is that the face of Puman is always muku, blank, and as its viewer you might project your own emotion to its face. So the way Puman looks, depends on how you feel. I’m going to make new character in the future called AI, a robot. Al is the complete opposite. But let’s talk about that another time.

We talk about the process of creating an artwork. What does that mean to you?
Inspiration comes to me without thinking. The trigger is usually an emotion, not necessarily a visual, although it can happen. I want to assimilate what comes from very deep inside me. It is something answering to a thought or an action and embodying everyday kind of feelings. To express what is inside me, I use my technique and subjects such as Kuukan and Puman. Aesthetics, directions and stories. The process of creating an artwork is integrating with what happens deep down inside (and outside) of me. The process intrigues me. I need to face it by myself and create it by myself. It is as if I am making a toy. The road to get there can be joyful, but also frightening and a struggle.

“MUTANTATION” Solo exhibition at Sato gallery in Paris, France