Kino Koike

Damoy - Trans Siberian Railway

In January of 2023, Russia and Ukraine are at war. Russia has declared Japan an unfriendly country, making it virtually impossible to freely travel to Russia.
The artist Kino Koike traveled across Russia on the Trans-Siberian Railway in 2018 and 2019 out of curiosity to learn more about a country he knew little about. The word Домой, pronounced “damoy,” which he heard many times during his journey, overlapped with the history of the inhuman experiences of those who were detained as forced labor in Soviet Siberia after World War II, lending complicated negative feelings to the early stages of his trip. Growing up in Hokkaido, Koike had been told from an early age about war and territorial disputes between Japan and Russia. However, his interactions with people he met on his travels, including blue-collar workers, soldiers, and shopkeepers, caused his stereotypical negative impression of Russians to disappear, and he learned the warmth of the original meaning of damoy, which is “home,” “family,” or “return.”
Through photographs of people he talked with and scenery he saw during his journey, Koike attempts to give expression to bonds between people, love, and freedom that transcend the concept of “nations.” It is his hope that getting to know and understand others will be a step towards ending the war.

Kino Koike was born in Hakodate, Hokkaido. He holds a master's degree in Information Systems from the Graduate School of Science and Engineering of Ritsumeikan University. Focusing on the recording role of photographic media, he creates works that fix the history and memory of times and places onto objects. In many of his projects he employs analog techniques such as gelatin silver, albumen paper, and wet plate collodion photography. He is also working to increase and expand the value of photographs as objects.

Kyoto Art Center

546-2 Yamabushiyama-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto