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Maari Sugawara (born in 1994 in Tokyo, Japan), a Japanese interdisciplinary artist, researcher, writer, educator, and Ph.D. student at the School of Creative Media at the City University of Hong Kong, splits her time between Tokyo and Hong Kong. She is the recipient of the Hong Kong Ph.D. Fellowship Scheme (HKPFS), established by the Research Grants Council (RGC).


Her works have been showcased internationally in a range of contexts including exhibitions, festivals, publications as well as academic conferences. Politicizing the personal, she uses media and image-making through challenging the Eurocentric and patriarchal standards set by the Japanese nation. Her works engage with the intersection of Japanese Studies, Speculative Fiction, Decolonial Studies, Gender Studies, and Digital Media. Issues of gender, racialized, and marginalized identity have been central to her art-based research.


Employing a wide range of mediums such as VR, animation, videos generated using Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs), projection mapping, photography, videography, stock materials, texts, and speculative fiction narratives, she creates a sensory involvement through the interplay of various components. She illustrates how the categories of Japanese and humans are categorically interpellated and performatively constituted through discourse and encourages a departure from traditional categories of difference.


2023    Doctor of Philosophy — School of Creative Media, CityUniversity; Hong Kong

2021    Interdisciplinary Master’s in Art, Media, and Design — OCAD University; Toronto, Canada

2018    Continuing Studies in Conceptual Photography — OCAD University; Toronto, Canada

2017    Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies, Diploma in Museum Management — Waseda University; Tokyo, Japan

2014    Art History (exchange) — Queen’s University: Kingston, Canada


Solo Exhibitions 

2022    Algorithms of Innocence: Nuit Blanche, Toronto, Canada

2022    Algorithms of Innocence: Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, Toronto, Canada

2021    Dreams Come True Very Much, The Garden, Toronto, Canada

Selected Group Exhibitions


2021    Of ties and tethers, Vector Festival 2021: Network Dependencies, Toronto, Canada


2021    GradEx 106; OCAD University, Toronto, Canada

2019    Flash Forward Incubator Program 2019; Stephen Bulger Gallery, Toronto, Canada

2019    Between the Lines; OCAD University, Toronto, Canada


2021    Contingencies of Care, Toronto Biennial of Art; Toronto, Canada

2021    ADA-DADA Residency, SAVAC, Toronto, Canada (auditor)

2020    Contingencies of Care, Toronto Biennial of Art; Toronto, Canada


Fellowship and Selected Awards

2022    Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme (HKPFS), Hong Kong Research Grants Council (RGC)

2022    Chow Yei Ching School of Graduate Studies Entrance Scholarship, City University, Hong Kong

2021    IAMD Award: Promising New Artist, OCAD University, Toronto, Canada

2019    Dean’s Scholarship, OCAD University, Toronto, Canada

Teaching Experience & Research

2020 - 2021    Research Internship and Mentoring at NEWVIEW SCHOOL, Tokyo,  Japan
2021    Lecture & Workshop:「アジア人への増悪犯罪と、日本における人種差別について:違いを力に変える(Anti-Asian Racism, and Racial Discrimination in Japan: Differences as Strength)」, Sendagaya Middle School, Tokyo, Japan
2019-2020    Teaching Assistantship as Tutorial Leader in Global Visual & Material Culture at OCAD University, Toronto, Canada
2018    Research Assistantship; Assisting Katy McCormick, the Director of the Graduate Program at 
Documentary Media at Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada

Conferences, Presentations & Workshops


2022    Presentation, discussion: "【世界を学ぼう】カナダと文化的ジェノサイド ([Let's Study the World] Canada's Cultural Genocide," Peace Boat NGO, Tokyo, Japan.
2022    Artist talk: "What Can(‘t) Cyborgs do about Japanese Identities?", Japanese Cultural Centre in Canada, Toronto, Canada

2021    Japanese Studies Association of Australia (JSAA) 2021 Conference: "What Cyborgs Can(’t) Do about Japanese Identities: Japaneseness as a product of the internalized Euro-American gaze," The University of Queensland, Australia

2020    2nd Asia Global Cultural Studies Forum: "What can Cyborgs do about Race? Japanese-ness, False Memories, and Honorary Whites," OCAD University, Toronto, Canada

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles & Commissioned Essays

2022    Human Futures Magazine Aug 2022, "'Colonized' Japanese Identities Live Forever: The Japanese State's Data Colonization," 2022. 
2022    me and you little magazine & club, "故郷でどうにかなる/菅原万有 (Somehow, In My Hometown}"

2021    she is (CINRA. inc,),  "世界各国のCOVID-19への向き合い方。混沌した世界を生き抜くために/菅原万有"
2021    The Puritan: The November 2021 Special issue; “SUCK MY HOUSE”, 2021.

2021    Femme Art Review: “In Conversation with Maari Sugawara” (with Nawang Tsomo).
2020    she is (CINRA. inc,),   "過ちを認めるのは「負け」ではない。変化に寛容な都市、トロント/菅原万有" 
    TORJA Toronto + Japan Magazineカナダの先住民迫害の歴史と渦巻く少数派を排斥する非人道主義””
    TORJA Toronto + Japan Magazine"新型コロナウイルスによるアジア人差別 現代に蘇る「黄禍論」|特集「カナダの光と闇」"


2015    Curator, ARISA HATA Exhibition, Koganei Art Spot; Tokyo, Japan



2021 – present    Senior Organizer, OCAD University, Asia Global Cultural Studies Forum; Toronto, Canada

2020-2022    SSENSE, Editorial Translator; Montreal, Canada

2019   Translator, The Ministry of Finance, Tokyo, Japan
2019    Main Photographer and Videographer, Luminato, Toronto's International Arts Festival; Toronto, Canada

2018 –2021    Managing Editor, Japan in Canada; Toronto, Canada
2018 –2021 Senior Reporter, TORJA Inc.; Toronto, Canada
2018    Curatorial Coordinator, Member of Artist Management Department, Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd.; Tokyo, Japan
2015    Assistant Curator, Koganei Art Spot; Tokyo, Japan



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