The legend of Anchin and Kiyohime is one of the most widely known folktales in Japan since the ancient times, Originated over a thousand years ago, it is a tragic love story of a Buddhist monk. Anchin, and a young woman, Kiyohime. Kiyohime falls in love with Anchin, but he betrays and evades her in order to stick to his ascetic practice. Refusing to lot go of him, Kiyohime chases after the fleeing monk, and transforms into a giant wrathful serpent along the way.
When she finds Anchin hiding inside a large bell at Dojoji temple, she wraps her body around the bell. spits fire, and incinerates the bell along with Anchin.
Devastated, Kiyohime throws herself into a river not long after her ophidian eyes streamed tears of blood.
The priest of the temple where this tragedy took place later chanted the Lotus Sutra in prayer for the salvation of these two souls, and it is told that they are both in heaven.
Through the themes of love, betrayal, obsession and despair, on top of the primal concepts of life and death, the tale emanates a compelling, universal message that appeals to audiences in any period of time. I found this legend and its sequels to be deeply moving, inspiring me to create a body of work titled BELL from 2018 to 2020.
Photographing this series was a personal journey of delving deep into ourselves living our modern lives, in order to capture a present-day interpretation of the pain and sadness that women were forced to bear as well as their inner strengths. Through an internal dialogue with the legend and an open but intimate observation of my family and our life together, I found myself yearning for a free, unbridled way of life, and in the process caught sight of new possibilities sprouting at our feet.