Setouchi Dirt Restaurant


Experience the flavors of islands through stories. Witness memories with people who collected dirt samples on Shodoshima, Megijima and Takamijima islands as the basis for cuisine. A three – course journey composed of sea, sky and earth is created by reviving once active fallow fields together with a local vegan chef and a youth mushroom grower. The recipes, research and encounters born here will continue to sprout in new directions for years to come. 

Ghosts of Khayalan

This work is woven from collective memories that resist epistemicide. Each of the threads within the net synergises to strengthen the bonds that nourish creative resilience today. People, places, things and spirits included in the work are part of the process of searching for Khayalan understood as realm of imagination. Ghosts help us remember the songs, poems, stories and traditions of our ancestors on the land and sea. This work weaves relationships among people from the past within the realities of today.

Loving Mountains



Yi Qian Chan, Keala Ching, Yukiko Dokiya, Mina Elison, Haruyosha, 平松正顕、鴨川仁、片瀬信江、Laurel Mel-Singh, Miho Morinoue, Walter Ritte, Ayane Sato, Hiroko Shimizu, 清水知行, Shizuoka University/認定NPO法人富士山測候所を活用する会、常田佐久、弓達公雄、渡部潤一、Marie Wiebe, Yale-NUS Fab Lab and Ashley Yeo

Sea Birth three

“Through the Sea Birth trilogy, Jack draws upon maritime history of Okinawa, where the islands’ folklore adds crucial perspectives often missing in current reporting of issues. In Sea Birth three, the final part of the trilogy, the painting sets the scene in Henoko-Ōura Bay with signs of resistance arising from the forest, the video provides context for the political contestations in the bay and the driftwood becomes a home for the fire spirits to return to their rightful habitat.”

Botanical Lessons in Idleness

“What had caught Jack’s attention was how Kanehira had not recorded the names of the flora. In other words, one could say that they had slipped through the categorizing gaze of colonialist museology that had come along with colonial expansion. Jack’s attitude of empathy towards things that have eluded categorization stems from the questioning of his own identity as someone who creates art while migrating.”

Œuvres à l’Encre

“Gathering materials from specific sites, Jack explores social memories of place through intimate contact with the people who live there in the simplest way. His method, using ink he creates from the husk of butternuts and walnuts (he gathers the nut, separates the husks, grinds, boils and filters them) is a meditative, labor intensive process. Representation is not the goal. The painting is more than the subject. The ink, color and brushwork become the image, not the mountain or ocean or whatever he is painting. Poetry that is connected to the landscape and people.”

Sea Birth two

This work builds upon the spirits found in the turbulent sea on the Pacific side of Okinawa. What is born from encounters near the site of a historic shipwreck near South Ukibaru Island?

Sea Birth one

The work Sea Birth begins with a wood fragment of an unidentified shipwreck in the coral near Minami Ukibaru Island. In reflecting imaginatively on the cultural connections linked to these fragments, the potential for a new life in the sea is opened.

Natura Naturata: Light of Singapore

Dirt is a part of us. Just as our body is composed of cells, organs and systems—so too is the earth. This fragile earth supports our life, yet we often separate ourselves from it. This work is composed of dirt traces gathered in Singapore. Look into these earth windows, what do you see?

Transpacific Crossing

Views of the Pacific seen from the bathymetric data from one container ship travelling between Aomi Terminal to the Port of Tacoma.

Iwaki Window

These eighty-eight works are composed simply of dirt traces on paper. The artist stood at each of these sites during the past year—touching one granule at a time, feeling the life of the earth on one’s fingertip. Numerous sites near the exhibition location in Fukushima Prefecture were also included, gradually bringing the spirit of each place  into view. Look into these windows, what do you see?

Migration of a Cycad

An action of reversing colonial desire today. Cycad palm trees were carried from the Ryūkyū Kingdom to Shikoku Island by members of the Satsuma Domain circa 18th century. For this work, the artist carried a pine tree sapling by boat in reverse from Takamatsu to the island of Tokunoshima and presented as a gift to a relative who added it to his domestic garden.

Philosophies of Dirt

“Dirt has a mind. In reading James Jack’s Philosophies of Dirt, here is one idea to which I propose we commit—that not only does dirt have a mind, it uses it.”

Natura Naturata

Earth pigments painted directly on the wall in a contemplative process, including three samples gathered in the vicinity of the gallery.

Natura Naturans

“For Natura Naturans, James Jack has created a work of profound beauty with a luminescence and quiet hue that evokes a sense of harmony with the nature of the Northwest.”

Ink & Essence