Elysha Rei is a Japanese-Australian visual artist whose work draws upon her mixed heritage and transition between places, cultures and communities. With a curiosity to examine her identity within a Japanese aesthetic, Rei’s work uses symbolic animals, plants and patterns. By placing these natural elements within new environments, she aims to question notions of ‘tradition’ and attachment to ‘place’, creating visual interpretations of her cross-cultural experiences. Rei’s work includes paper cutting, portraits and public art installations, which have been exhibited across Australia and internationally over the past 12 years.
First Coat 2017 Mural
This work pays homage to my humble beginnings in Toowoomba where I started my creative journey here as a fresh-faced undergraduate at the University of Southern Queensland and volunteering at Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery on weekends. After completing my studies I represented Toowoomba in the sister city Takatsuki as an ambassador and teacher, then returned several years later to open up an artist-run gallery with Co-founder and Director Alex Stalling. I've fulfilled my wildest creative dreams in this town, with an amazing few years of exhibitions and projects. The connections I've made mean even more - with the wealth of talented and passionate people that I've met here. The iconic red bridges of the Japanese Gardens feature in this work, where I used to spend my lunchtimes as a student. The Geisha girl, a suggestive self-portrait, is inspired by the aesthetic of Japanese ukiyo-e prints - connecting with my heritage. I feel like I've somehow come full circle in a place where I will always feel a strong connection to. My ever inescapable koi fish has finally found a home, on the side of Toowoomba's Regional Art Gallery, and I couldn't be more thrilled.