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“We will become immortal” 2023 oil on canvas 1167mm*910mm

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My painting inspiration comes from video clips of theatre and musicals on YouTube. I am committed to depicting the humanity that can easily disappear. My practice involves building up layers of pigment to form the fragile existence of the human being. 

I'm trying to capture that moment when boundaries melt away. Be somebody, be special, be chosen, they say. On the other hand, do we have to be somebody to change the world?
Individuality disappears when people come together. When you march in protest, you sing in unison and wear the same colour T-shirt. You don't care about the names of the people in the crowd. In that moment, our boundaries melt away. You become one of them and you gain solidarity. We're expendable and yet so powerful. That is why I paint people.

My main medium is the idea of Western culture I have idolised, like music, theatre and politics.

I can freely express my feelings by painting people in western culture. For example, talking about abortion is kind of taboo in Japan. So I avoid capturing Japanese society, instead I drew pro-choice people protesting in front of the US Supreme Court. Someone might call me a coward, but this is my little protest for myself.

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Eri Ueno is a contemporary painter. Her work focuses on exploring the boundaries of humanity that can easily disappear. She holds a BA from Nagoya University of Arts. In 2019, at the beginning of her artistic career, she practiced installation, film, photography, and interviewing people who have been marginalised in Japan, such as immigrants. She was awarded a 2019 Nakagawa Canal Artist Fellowship. As the project grew, she felt an immense sense of guilt for exploiting the stories of marginalised people in the name of art. These experiences have been key for her in approaching other artistic mediums, mainly oil painting.
Ueno's paintings have been regularly exhibited in Tokyo and Nagoya.

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