Art Lab Artist Hirakawa Nagisa “Collecting Hand-Knitted Narratives” Project

Art Lab Artist Hirakawa Nagisa “Collecting Hand-Knitted Narratives” Project

Artist Hirakawa Nagisa has been making sprawling pieces of art primarily by crocheting, delving into places, people’s memories and time. She has recently been creating art with old clothes and knitted items collected from people, using them as materials carrying individual memories.
The museum plans to hold a solo exhibition of Hirakawa in 2022. To prepare for the exhibition, she launched her ongoing project in 2021. She collected hand-knitted items from the residents of Yusui Town, where the museum is located, to use as materials for her new work. Some of the items were then unraveled into yarn that could be reused to make a large-scale artwork.
Hirakawa’s previous approach in making art was to travel to various regions, build a relationship with each locale from a visitor’s perspective, and produce work there. She has now set up her base in Kagoshima and intends to set her roots in this region. As a natural reaction to the corona pandemic, she says she found herself wanting to focus more on her immediate surroundings and deeply explore the familiar.
The project’s final outcome will be presented in the solo exhibition in 2022. Before this, a preliminary show was held in 2021, centering around the narratives related to the knitted items collected from the residents.

【Sponsor】Kirishima Open-Air Museum

【Cooperation】Yusui Town / Yusui town Board of education / Kirishima-sanroku Yusui Town Tourism Association / Yoshimatsu Goods & Produce Fureai Market

【Project Timeline】
1. Collecting knitted items and related episodes. (4/15-5/30)
We asked residents of Yusui Town to submit hand-knitted items and episodes related to them at 4 locations, including, Kurino Library, Yusui Town Tourism Association, Yoshimatsu Goods & Produce Fureai Market, Kirishima Open-Air Musem. Twenty people responded.

Click here to view the application leaflet

2. Hirakawa created a work of art using the knitted items and episodes submitted by the residents.
The artist created a work of art by connecting all the knitted items with gold thread and hung the piece in the exhibition space. How the episodes were presented was inspired by the venue, which is the local library. They were written on paper that resembled an open book.

3. Exhibition: “Itonami (Actions of Life),” featuring the knitted items and episodes submitted by the residents. (10/1-11/7)
The exhibition “Itonami,” showcasing the developments of the ongoing project, was held at Kurino Library. The large-scale work made with knitted items filled a conference room, while the episodes from 20 people were presented in the tatami space.(Photo:Toshio Moriyama)

Click here to view the exhibition leaflet.
Click here for the exhibition overview.

4. Workshop: “Unraveling the Knitted Items” (11/12-11/21)
A workshop was held at the Kurino Library to undo some of the knitted items used in the exhibition. Taking the items that were donated to the project, the participants transformed them into many balls of yarn.
Click here for details of the workshop.

Official Instagram account of the project
Official Facebook page of the project


Yusui Town Kurino Library
Holding period
2021/04/15 〜 2021/11/21
■Collecting knitted items:4/15〜5/30
■Project Exhibition "Itonami (Actions of Life)":10/1〜11/7(Closed on Mondays, October 28th)
* The opening date was moved from September 24 to October 1 as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus.
■Workshop "Unraveling the Knitted Items":11/12〜11/21(Closed on November 15th)
Viewing time
■Project Exhibition "Itonami (Actions of Life)":10:00-18:00 (On Fridays, the library will be opened 10:00 to 19:00)<br /> ■Workshop "Unraveling the Knitted Items":10:00-16:00
Admission fee



Hirakawa Nagisa
Born in Oita Prefecture in 1979. Lives in Kagoshima Prefecture since 2013. She has visited and stayed in many places to make site-specific art. Using materials that suit each locale, she creates a sprawling installation mainly with crocheting. She also runs a project that collects old clothes and knitted items from the local people. She approaches memories and events related to these items and reorganizes them as artworks.
Her major exhibitions include the following. [2017] “Local Prospects 3: Primordial Senses” (Mitsubishi Estate ARTIUM/Fukuoka), “Message 2017: Contemporary Artists of South Kyushu” (Miyakonojo City Museum of art/Miyazaki), [2016] “Itoshima International Art Festival 2016 Itoshima Arts Farm” (Fukuoka). Her work is included in the collection of Miyakonojo City Museum of art.

Photo : Eiko Shimozono