Theaster Gates: Afro-Mingei

Theaster Gates

$30.27 (+tax)

To be released in July
Based in the South Side neighbourhood of Chicago, USA, Sheister Gates (b. 1973, Chicago) is internationally acclaimed for her sculptural and ceramic works, which cross media and genres such as architecture, music, performance, fashion and design. The exhibition Sheister Gates: Afro-Mingei (Mori Art Museum), her first solo exhibition in Japan, will explore the appeal of black art, which continues to attract worldwide attention, through Gates’ multifaceted practice. At the same time, it will provide an opportunity to realise the significance of contemporary art, which celebrates handicraft, questions race and politics, and calls for a new fusion of cultures.


Educated in sculpture and urban planning, Gates first came to Japan in 2004 to study ceramics in Tokoname, Aichi, and has since been influenced by Japanese culture, including ceramics, for over 20 years. Impressive encounters and discoveries in Japan and the Asia-Pacific region, as well as his lived experience as an African-American with roots in Mississippi and Chicago, USA, form the foundation of his creative work. As an artist, Gates’ exploration of cultural hybridity has led him to coined the term ‘Afro-Mingei’ to describe his unique aesthetic, which combines the slogan ‘Black is Beautiful’, which was part of the American civil rights movement (1954-1968), with the philosophy of the Japanese ‘Mingei’ movement It gave birth to the term ‘Afro-Mingei’, which describes a unique aesthetic. This exhibition, Gates’ first solo exhibition in Japan and the largest in Asia, is organised into sections Sacred Space, Black Library & Black Space, Blackness, Chronology and Afro-Mingei, and presents not only his past masterpieces but also works closely related to Japanese culture, including new works created especially for this exhibition. The exhibition catalogue includes an installation view.


The catalogue of the exhibition introduces the installation view to the fullest, and also includes the timeline of the history of Tokoname, the history of folk art, the history of the fictional potter Yamaguchi Shoji, and black American history and Gates’ personal history in one time line, as well as the architectural project by Gates, which was also displayed in the exhibition. Three essays and an interview with Gates are also included to deepen understanding of Gates’ multifaceted and unique activities. 



Theaster Gates: Afro-Mingei

Apr 24 – Sep 1, 2024

Mori Art Museum

10:00-22:00 (10:00-17:00 on Tuesdays)

Admission until 30 minutes before closing


Size: A4 / Soft Cover / 254P

Text: Hirokazu Tokuyama, Coco Fusco, Chelsea Foxwell
Installation views: Takeru Koroda

Design: Tsutomu Nishioka

Languages: Japanese / English

Price: 3,440 yen

Publisher: torch press
ISBN: 978-4-907562-49-6

Year: 2024
Theaster Gates
Born 1973, Chicago, Illinois, USA, resident there. Studied urban design, ceramics, religious studies and visual arts at Iowa State University and the University of Cape Town, South Africa. She uses visual art theories of clay material, objectivity, space and materiality to skilfully express the complexities of blackness, and her participation in the 2004 Tokoname International Welding Homestay (IWCAT) in Tokoname, Aichi Prefecture, has led to her 20-year commitment to the cultural values and traditions of ceramics in Tokoname, with a strong interest and respect for the city. and traditions of Tokoname, and has built relationships with ceramic artists and local people. Recent major solo exhibitions include the New Museum (New York, 2022-2023), Serpentine Pavilion (London, 2022) and Fondazione Prada (Milan, 2018). In Japan, she exhibited at the International Arts Festival Aichi 2022 and was selected as a grantee of the Obayashi Foundation’s ‘Visions of the City’ in 2019 to carry out a research project in Japan.