2020 – Ongoing — Japan, USA
About this series
KAIKOU (邂逅)—meaning ‘encounter’ in Japanese—is a collected work of photographic images and a historical photographic process, chemigram, which I utilize to create reactions between the photographic paper and photographic chemicals.
The images in KAIKOU were created in and between my two homes, in Japan and America, over the course of years, mainly during the past few years. When I faced the situation of not being able to go back to Japan during that difficult time, I started looking for familiar subjects in America that reminded me of Japan. Following the paths of light and shadow, I tried to find evidence of the existence of my home in my own fragmented memories, collecting them, and putting the pieces together to create a path that leads to a place called ‘home’.
While KAIKOU became a reflection of reminiscence and nostalgia toward my home country, the work is much more than that: it is a spiritual journey populated by memories that surface between reality and illusion. It is also a reflection of a feeling of emptiness, surrender and acceptance to a greater and larger force or power, such as nature and the universe. In the sea of memories, I encounter the past and the present, and find a new meaning of home.
Japanese-born Lieh Sugai is a New York visual artist who works with photography and video. Her subject matter is comprised of memories that occur between people and places, and how these are shaped by time, events and culture. To explore them, she uses her dual perspective as a Japanese immigrant whose home is also in America.
Lieh studied Graphic Design at Pratt Institute, where photography became her prevailing passion, as a way to enter, express and document different cultures, and to push the boundaries of her creativity. Her work has been exhibited at Foley Gallery and others around New York City, as well as internationally.