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Wakako Kawakami’s Striking Installations of Giant Textile Birds

When Alfred Hitchcock directed his classic film The Birds, he left open the question as to why the birds turned their fixation towards humanity. The mystery surrounding his film made it one his most chilling pieces of work, portraying a bird's-eye view of the world as if nature were judging us. Osaka based Japanese artist Wakako Kawakami takes a note from Hitchcock with her giant textile budgies that she installs in various locations. Their plush faces peer down on us from office windows and building entrances with empty eyes, compelling for their massive size and beautiful colors, but at the same time unnerving and mysterious.

When Alfred Hitchcock directed his classic film The Birds, he left open the question as to why the birds turned their fixation towards humanity. The mystery surrounding his film made it one his most chilling pieces of work, portraying a bird’s-eye view of the world as if nature were judging us. Osaka based Japanese artist Wakako Kawakami takes a note from Hitchcock with her giant textile budgies that she installs in various locations. Their plush faces peer down on us from office windows and building entrances with empty eyes, compelling for their massive size and beautiful colors, but at the same time unnerving and mysterious. Kawakami was also thinking about the presence of nature when she first created her gigantic birds, explaining that her reason for using parrots as a motif was in an attempt to express life, and out of a fantasy that her own pets were larger than life. While she mostly sees her characters as “cute”, as in her more playful installations like a flock of green and yellow budgies riding a bus, other works tell a sadder story. In one series, she pays tribute to her childhood parakeet who flew away, and imagines what his life must be like living with other birds in the park. More recent works, such as her current installation at Park Hotel Tokyo, on view until February 14th, use color combinations like red and white (called “kouhaku”), as symbol for auspicious or happy occasions. Take a look at more of Wakako Kawakami’s installations below, courtesy of the artist.

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