Nishio takes apparel approach to art

by Alisa Yamasaki

Staff Writer

Yoshinari Nishio is one of the winners of the “Life by Media” competition at Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media (YCAM) and is currently displaying his project, “Pubrobe,” there until Sept. 1. It’s an atypical piece, a station where people lend and borrow clothes for free.

“I wanted to create a public wardrobe where people share clothes, instead of storing them in their own closets,” Nishio says. “My goal is to get people to reflect on our ‘throwaway’ culture.”

On collaborating with the technology-centered YCAM, the artist is positive.

“I was impressed by how YCAM broadly interpreted the term ‘media’ for this competition,” he says. “I consider clothing as an important medium for communication.”

The artist has been specializing in clothing for a decade, and currently lives and works in Kenya.

“In Nairobi everybody wears used clothes that have been donated from other countries, so there are no trends,” Nishio says. “People freely mix clothes of different eras and styles.

“It’s said that clothing is related to a person’s identity, but many people wear clothes within pre-existing rules. I want to release people from these restrictions and want them to wear clothes that they would otherwise not choose. It’s one way that people can feel free.”