Manami Uetake

Tokyo-based Japanese Visual Artist

01.12.2019   - 29.02.2020

Tokyo-based Japanese artist Manami Uetake works within the mediums of photography, video and text. Her work deals with individual and collective trauma, and how its memory is processed both personally and publicly, especially with regard to public monuments.

She begins her artistic process by gathering personal narratives through dialog and visual documentation of private conversations, and collecting records of individual experience in relation to traumatic events. She aims to share these private stories with a wider audience and expose unknown narratives in society, which she believes emerge from the invisible friction between people and their environment.

As the artist states,

I am seeking for the possibility to accept others’ memory while thinking of the impossibility to feel others’ memory which we can’t really experience.

Manami Uetake, Artist’s Statement


Uetake uses video and photography to engage with her subjects on a personal level, but also as a critical tool for documenting contemporary societies at large. She is particularly intrigued by the fact that through bringing to light such private narratives, it enables us to have a different perspective to think about general issues within society.

Prior to starting her residency at SomoS, Manami has been investigating monuments in disaster-stricken areas of Fukushima. After the nuclear disaster in 2011, many monuments to the victims were erected by local governments and residents. These monuments have become an important symbol for people; as a place to pray for the victims and reassemble former residents who were scattered after the disaster. It also plays an important role as a site for sufferers of the tragedy to express their sadness and pain. By documenting the landscape of these monuments, she delves into their cultural significance and emotional effect on people who suffered the tragedies and for future generations.

While in Fukushima, she became interested in monuments in a broader cultural context. Particularly with regard to how they can become an intrinsic part of a social landscape, revealing how personal memory can be developed into collective memory and how they are perceived by society at large. Expanding on the idea of dealing with personal narratives from her previous projects, Manami plans to visit monuments in Berlin and identify people within local communities here, that will allow her to interview them about their perceptions and impressions of monuments in the city, especially in terms of Germany’s complex history.

Manami Uetake joins SomoS’ Artist-in-Residency program in December 2019. During her time at SomoS, the artist intends to research historical monuments and memorials in Berlin. By comparing their significance in Germany to Japan, she aims to deepen her understanding of the dynamics and politics of remembrance culture, and develop concepts for a new body of work.

Manami Uetake holds a M.A in Painting from Tokyo University of the Arts, Japan, 2018 and was a guest student at Chelsea College of the Arts in London, 2015. She has exhibited extensively throughout Tokyo, including her solo show Still Ongoing at TAP Gallery and the group exhibition Typhoon and Order at Gallery 35. She was also selected for the 13th 1_WALL Photography award in 2015 and was a finalist at the 17th 1_WALL Photography award in 2017.

Manami Uetake homepage