Japanese collaborators, 2019

Japanese collaborators, 2019
110,000 copies of paper, printed in UV sensitive, invisible ink, 21 x 29 cm each
Installation view: Sharjah Biennial 14: ‘Leaving the Echo Chamber’
Commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation
Courtesy of Antariksa


As an artist and researcher, Antariksa has focused on the history of Japanese-occupied Southeast Asia during World War II, 1941-1945. Excavating a desire to reconjure the past and the relevance of its overlooked impact, he envisions the leveling of historical fact and its fictions as a necessary process in recording human action.

For SB14, Antariksa has researched the Japanese artists sent to battlefields to create images in the first Sino-Japanese War (1894–1895) and the Russo-Japanese War ten years later. The practice continued on an unprecedented scale in the 1930s and early 1940s, when the military recruited hundreds of artists to serve in the Sendenbu [propaganda department], including a large number of prominent Indonesian artists and intellectuals. Their works about war were shown in exhibitions in Japan that attracted record numbers of visitors and were even attended by the Emperor. The propaganda value of their works was further amplified by reproductions in the mass media.

In Co-Prosperity #3 (2019), Antariksa has created an installation around the biographies, works and surrounding documentation of these jūgun gaka [official war painters] as well as other unofficial artists in wartime Japan and Japanese-occupied Indonesia. In this work, he intervenes in the militarised control of cultural memory through the biographies of people who used artistic means to mediate hardline messaging and narratives of war and document other unsanctioned expressions. This presentation includes works by artists Tsuyoshi Ozawa, Makoto Murata, Surya Wirawan, along with his own sensorial archive of data and documents that draw attention to the unofficial historical account of the delinquent, the defector and the activist.

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Co-Prosperity #3 (2019)


Historian and researcher Antariska’s work centres primarily on art collectivism and the mobility of ideas in Japanese-occupied Southeast Asia during World War II.