“Treasures” is an exhibition that aims to be life affirming, particularly for those people considered outside the mainstream in terms of physical abilities. However, while issues of social integration are implicit in Harumichi Saito’s work, it’s not polemic. His images concentrate on personal experience and perceptions, and the appreciation of other people who might be considered “atypical” in one way or another. Saito himself is deaf, and photography has been a way for him to engage with music, for example, by utilizing a different sense, he is able to appreciate something that is not directly accessible to him. His images do not present a critical stance toward a society largely unconcerned with the marginalized, so much as invite viewers to share the experience of those living in such different realities.
The social context and aspirations of Saito’s work, which caught the attention of the art world when he received an Excellence Award in the 2010 Canon New Cosmos of Photography competition, are beyond reproach. And in the main gallery space, the complex mosaic-like installation of dozens of images, randomly framed and jumbled together, are impeccably placed in arrangements that confirm the artist’s well-refined sense of composition.