Maari Sugawara (born 1994 in Tokyo, Japan, lives and works in Toronto) is a Japanese interdisciplinary artist, translator, writer, and freelance journalist. She is currently a Dean’s scholarship student at The Interdisciplinary Master's in Art, Media, and Design (IAMD) at OCAD University in Toronto where she works as a Teaching Assistant. After graduating from Waseda University in Tokyo with a BA in Creative Writing and Museum Studies, she worked in the Artist Management team for Takashi Murakami at Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. In 2018, she moved to Toronto, in search for a more inclusive art scene.
In her digital photography, videography, and digital medium based art works, she problematizes aspects of Japanese national and cultural identity. Growing up as a racialized woman in England from the age of ten, issues of gender and racialized identity has been central to her current research. Her current art-based-research project aims to question and disrupt hidden historical interplay between Japan's eurocentrism, self-Orientalism, and the country’s refusal to address the living legacy of colonial aggression. Employing speculative fiction tropes to communicate the contingency of Japanese identities, her art projects denaturalize normative constructions of identity, to contract and disrupts current discourses surrounding Japanese identity.
Still an emerging artist, her works have been showcased in several publications and exhibitions.
OCAD University; Toronto, Ontario — 2019-2021, MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts & Design
OCAD University; Toronto, Ontario — 2018-2018, Continuing Studies in Conceptual Photography
Waseda University; Tokyo, Japan — 2012 – 2017, BA in Liberal Studies (Art History and Museum Studies)
Queen’s University; Kingston, Canada — 2013 - 2014 Art History (Exchange)
ARTIST IN RESIDENCE
Toronto Biennial of Art; Toronto, Ontario—2020 June – July
Participated in the Contingencies of Care, a virtual artist residency hosted by OCAD University, Toronto Biennial of Art, and BUSH Gallery