© 2011-2023 Photography of China
-- Artist statement
In 1994, while still in my early 20’s and fresh out of photo school I went to India to photograph. Six months into my travels the backpack in which I was keeping my exposed film – over 150 rolls – was stolen. This incident cast a dark shadow over my youth and ultimately signified a turning point in my understanding about photography which continues to this day. Even though I went to India determined to make photographs this event was the trigger for me to realize that essentially I was there sightseeing and made me question why I was even in India in the first place. It made me aware of the ambiguity of my determination (…).
Soon after this I went to Nepal. With no set destination I happened to end up in Kathmandu. There, I encountered a Tibetan family on the roadside (…). My relationship with this family grew as we shared meals and our living space. In between mantra carving, I looked after the children when they played. Our time together was short yet it was a time of happiness. As the days passed I picked up bits of their language and began to feel a strong desire to see their homeland with my own eyes (..).
In 1996, I set foot in Tibet. I’ll never forget that thrill. Everything that had happened so far – every coincidence, incident, and tribulation, had brought me to this point. (…) Looking back I realize that most of my twenties were spent with Tibet. Having started out as an empty vessel, it was Tibet and my experiences there that made me full.
Born in Osaka, 1971, Arimoto currently lives and works in Tokyo, Japan. Graduated from Visual Arts Osaka in 1994, Arimoto received the 35th Taiyo Award in 1998 with his work “Portrait of Tibet”. In 2008, he founded the Totem Pole Photo Gallery. Arimoto published “Tokyo Circulation” with Zen Foto Gallery in 2016 and won the 26th Tadahiko Hayashi Award as well as the Photographic Society of Japan’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017. His other publications include “ariphoto selection” (No. 1-10, Totem Pole Photo Gallery) and “TIBET” (Zen Foto Gallery, 2019). Actively presenting his work in and out of Japan, he held a solo show at Le Plac'Art Photo, Paris in 2017 and participated in the group exhibition “Am Rand der Gesellschaft. Barlach – Springer – Arimoto” at Museum Bautzen, Germany in 2019.
More information: arimotoshinya.com