Otsuka is best known for a 2005 project entitled Imagine Finding Me, where the artist digitally montaged photographs of her adult self with those of her childhood self. What makes this series more than a gimmick is Otsukas ability to convince the viewer of a liminal space between ascribed relationships (mother, daughter, sister, aunt) and those we achieve throughout the course of our lifetime (friend, teacher, student, client).
For her current exhibition, inspired by a 2014 residency at the Nikkei archives, the UK-based Otsuka has produced an immersive multi-channel installation that combines new photographs with those of young Japanese women who came to Canada as picture brides in the early 20th century. Also included are the personal belongings of four of these brides.
As with Otsukas earlier work, Arrival succeeds in the creation of a new space, one that capture[s] the time of anticipation, hope and adventure that these young women experienced as they left home for parts unknown, but also its darker side of disappointment and, invariably, hardship. Making this work particularly relevant to younger audiences is how similar the picture bride phenomenon is to what is presently available through social media marriage sites the world over.