Hiromi Tango: An extraordinary Japanese-Australian artist
In speaking to Japanese-Australian artist Hiromi Tango, one feels immediately connected to her energy and fluidity, and she explains that this synergy or connection is mysterious, “nobody knows why,” she laughs.
Hiromi has been creating her signature sculpture and textile-based art in Australia for many years, experimenting with colour, lighting and details that reflect her innermost ideas and emotions.
Hiromi says that for a long time she struggled to reconcile her Japanese and Australian identities and channel that through her art. She says that growing up in a traditional Japanese family she felt herself questioning the values that her society was forcing onto her, and at 22 years of age, made the brave decision to move to Australia with her partner.
“I wanted to start my life from zero… and be a baby, everything would be new,” Hiromi says, “It was like I was going through this big storm… I felt like I was swimming in this big ocean… [but] I just wanted to be human.”
Hiromi admits that until recently she felt ashamed to be Japanese, following four years of study in Tokyo, where she received a Bachelor Arts. She felt that her family’s traditional Japanese values conflicted with her own humanitarian-focused beliefs, causing a rift between herself and her parents that was difficult to mend.
“Everything was designed and planned for my life and my father said if I moved to Australia I should say goodbye to the Tango family,” Hiromi recalled.
“[So when I did] I had to say goodbye to Japan and I had to say goodbye to my family.”
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As Hiromi began living in Australia she was often asked about her Japanese background and shied away from the questions, not wanting to talk about that part of herself. However, as her two daughters grew older and she noticed elements of her Japanese culture in her art, Hiromi began to reconcile this part of herself, rekindle a relationship with her parents, and was able to express this change artistically.
“All of a sudden, my work became soft,” Hiromi says. “I didn’t have to fight with myself anymore… I felt very happy.”
Hiromi connects this feeling to a concentration on formal meditation and mindfulness, that she has been practicing since 2017. Through gardening and through art, Hiromi felt that she was focusing her energy in ways that were new and engaging, moving from the traditional framework that ‘art is about struggle’.
“I did not think I could ever be happy,” Hiromi admits.
“I think that came from the traditional notion that an artist has to be struggling and that if you aren’t struggling you are no artist.”
As a child Hiromi was inspired by Monet, and like her grandmother, carried a love and appreciation for nature that she wanted to express through art.
“My grandmother remains an important inspiration for me. Her relationship with nature was incredible,” Hiromi says.
“She rarely spoke, but was able to communicate volumes through gardening… the more that the world gets out of my control the more time I spend in my garden… I am now happy no matter what, the things that I do not have control of are circumstantial… I now focus energy on what I have control over.”
Hiromi’s art is made with the intention to heal and connect. She says that everyone may react differently, but that this is the foundation of art. Just like her, art should move and interact fluidly with the world.
“I do hope that through my artistic expression I am able to contribute peace, harmony, love and compassion for humanity and nature,” Hiromi says.
“It is a personal journey of self-development. At the same time I also hope that the audience will be able to relax and enjoy engaging with my art, and that as my research in the areas of neuroscience, art and health further develops, I hope my art creates genuine healing experiences.”
Find out more about Hiromi, including recent works ‘New Now’, ‘Brainbow Magic’ and ‘Rainbow Circles: Healing Circles’, HERE.
Photographer: Joe Ruckli