Tenko, her beloved daughter, has always been an important subject for Japanese artist Hanayo. After the birth of Tenko, Hanayo has documented her daughter’s growing up between Tokyo and Berlin, in her double capacity as mother and artist.
One of the first and second books Tenko came into contact with during her childhood was “Shojo Arisu (Alice)” (1973) by Hajime Sawatari, In Hanayo’s photos, Tenko can be seen squatting over the photo book, reading in it as if it were a picture book.
At 15, Tenko met the creator of this favourite book of hers, photographer Hajime Sawatari. After their initial encounter, Tenko went on to become one of Sawatari’s most important photographic subjects. Five years later, the two have collaborated on photographic works that carry the mystical, distant sensuality of the original “Alice” photobook.
The photo book “Tenko” is an intersection between Hanayo’s photos, taken in her role as Tenko’s mother, and Hajime Sawatari’s mystical, sensual photos inspired by Tenko’s favourite childhood book, Sawatari’s “Alice”.