Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Jan Patience: Rare Miyako collection is a sensation at Stills

© SYSTEMIshiuchi Miyako, artist.
Ishiuchi Miyako, artist.

Ishiuchi Miyako is one of the most influential post-war photographers to emerge from Japan in the last 50 years.

Her work is rarely seen in the UK but now, as part of the Edinburgh Art Festival, a small but powerful display is on show at Stills Gallery in the capital.

The photographs are from three different, yet interconnected, bodies of work by Miyako, now 76.

The artist’s first colour photographs were made for her Mother’s series, created as a response to the death of her mother, aged 84, in 2000.

For this series, Miyako photographed her mother’s burn-marked skin up close before she died. She also documented her mother’s possessions; livid red lipsticks, shoes and wigs. Miyako was then commissioned by the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum to photograph items of personal effects belonging to victims of the atomic bomb, which wreaked death and destruction on the city in August 1945.

Begun in 2007, it features images of items such as jackets, socks, a watch and dresses – some photographed on a lightbox – which had been in direct contact with blast victim’s bodies.

Miyako continued to record bodily traces of the passage of time with her Frida, 2013 series, for which she photographed a selection of artist Frida Kahlo’s possessions at the Museo Frida Kahlo in Mexico City. These included the revered Mexican artist’s Oaxaca dresses, shoes, sunglasses, make-up and a decorated corset.

This exhibition was hung by Miyako, who spent 10 days in Edinburgh, working with staff at Stills.

The colour of the walls – dark navy blue and silver grey – was specified by Miyako. Some photos are at eye-level, some are at knee-height. Initially, I found this confusing, but the end result was that you looked more closely. No bad thing.

I urge you to see this unmissable jewel of an exhibition.


Another Edinburgh Art Festival highlight is Montreal-based Nadia Myre’s Tell Me Of Your Boats And Your Waters – Where Do They Come From, Where Do They Go?  at Edinburgh Printmakers, Fountainbridge.

In this new work, which can be seen inside the visual arts hub and alongside the nearby Union Canal, she explores the ties that bind Scotland and Canada through migratory routes, which started on the canal, indigenous storytelling, archival research methods, pattern, prose and song lyrics.