TOWA 20240408 b3-1

Towa Takaya 

Contemporary artist, painter 

Born in Tokyo in 1992. Having graduated from the Fine Art department, Goldsmiths, University of London in 2016, and currently based in Tokyo.

Born 1992, Tokyo. Graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London and currently based in Tokyo. Takaya creates her works using self-made pigments derived from soils, plants, and cosmetic ingredients from both domestic and international origins. The exploration of delicate color spectrums and the rich gradations weave a unique depth that invites viewers into a spiritual space detached from everyday life.

Artist statement

My main focus as a creator is to explore how it is possible to move our perception of the world from the linguistic perceptions, which we can manipulate, into the realm of non-verbal perceptions, through colour. My practice explores the scope for overcoming conceptual conflicts in an increasingly complex and realistic world by attempting to approach the world through colour, in a realm that cannot be explained by language. It is a ‘response to reconciliation’ to overcome ideologies and differences in an age of post-truth and fragmentation.

I consider colour as a substance that works within existence. The works are a pictorial space that deconstructs and reconstructs the historicity of painting and its authority in order to dialogue with the universal unconscious beyond each personal unconscious.To produce oil paintings, I work with pearlescent materials used in make-up and metallic materials. The different refractive qualities of the materials appear to the human eye as fluctuating surfaces.

This two-dimensional work of ontological inquiry is deliberately created to be experientially immersive, with the light of the gallery space changing as the viewer changes distance and angle to the work.

This immersive viewing experience is also a contemplative one in which the viewer experiences a fluctuation of consciousness that both acknowledges and forgets their sense of time and memories of their inner world. In this sense, the artwork is a medium that connects the creator and the viewer, and a device for experimenting together with the possibilities of the human body as a sensory organ.

At the same time, a multi-dimensional depth is created on the flat surface, which reacts and fluctuates with the changing light of the exhibition space. In a sense, the works crystallise part of a transcendental dimension in which what we see changes with our state of mind and the changing environment of the space. Paintings that look into the viewer's own mind, rather than paintings that convey images, are meant to help us regain our physicality in the post-truth era of accelerating information technology, and to know the certainty of being present in the here and now. It is also an act of reinterpreting the world as 'an environment we have to live through' into something liveable.


Introducing the artist

Towa Takaya creates with her paintings, whichever abstract or figurative, a space in which physicality and relation between materials are presented (not represented) in a different way from the world they usually belong to.  


This space does not have its own meaning. Neither has it depth. In other words, the space she creates is flat, both in terms of semiology and perspective. Besides, neither has it the flow of time; there is no division between past, present and future. Concerning time sequence, the space the painting proposes is also flat.


It does not mean that the space of Towa’s works generates no meanings. Rather, the space creates a flat space in which beholder and the work encounter, and at that time the meaning emerges. In other words, her works have a potential to generate a phenomenological encounter, so that it generates rather than has meanings. That is, only if the space of her works is in contact with the beholders who perceive the world with the sense of time-flow, meaning and story about the works begin to appear. 


In this sense, the space which her paintings generate seems to be “the space of appearance,” in H. Arendt’s terminology. She claims that in the space of appearance


[t]o be alive means to live in a world that preceded one’s own arrival and will survive one’s own departure. On this level of sheer being alive, appearance and disappearance, as they follow upon each other, are the primordial events, which as such mark out time, the time span between birth and death. (H. Arendt, The Life of the Mind)


Towa’s paintings require to be experienced in a space which enables layered spaces to coexist. At the primordial level of experience, the painting is flat, because it is not linked with meaning, space, and time of the “world that preceded one’s own arrival”. However, her painting activates the world at the moment of phenomenological encounter in the space of appearance where appearance of disappearance and disappearance of appearance make sense at once. For instance, while the visual, or substantial, appearance of objects and body on canvas emerges as the disappearance of their usual form, the appearance of the original form of them (in the Aristotelian sense) is proposed as the disappearance of their forms which are con-figured visually and materially. Here, flatness of painting itself and layers of spaces it creates coexist, as it presents appearance with disappearance.


The reason Towa’s works function as such is that they create, or themselves are, the space of appearance, which is flat and simultaneously layered in terms of meaning, time and space. In this way, Towa proposes as paintings the origin of space which enables the phenomenological encounter.


Junya Utsumi




Center for Special Information Science in The University of Tokyo 
Cooperative Research Fellow   Jan, 2017- 2019


Goldsmith College, University of London  
BA (Hons), Fine Art      2012-2015


Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design , University of Arts London  
Foundation Diploma for Art and Design  2011– 2012



SAKURADOKI : works of painting 2020-2023
Venue: AK-4 Gallery
Organized by WHYNOT.TOKYO (Tokyo 、Japan) 
Date:27th March to 3nd April in 2023


Venue: LURF MUSEUM (Tokyo, Japan)
 Date: 22nd to 28th March in 2023
exhibition archive


Venue: Monkey Galley DAIKANYAMA (Tokyo, Japan)
 Date: 9th to 19th September in 2022

Venue: WHYNOT. TOKYO (Tokyo, Japan)
 Date: 7th to 17th April in 2022

Slowly but Surely

Venue: WHYNOT. TOKYO (Tokyo, Japan)
 Date: 10th to 24th April in 2021

Venue: WHYNOT. TOKYO (Tokyo, Japan)
Date: 16th Jan to 2nd Feb in 2020

Plastic Rendez-vous
Venue: 5th base gallery (London, England) 2014
Date:16th to 21st Dec in 2014 

Either me or you 
Sponsored by Jun Atsushi & Kaoru Ichikawa Fine Art (Tokyo, Japan) 
Date:7th - 21st Sep in 2014   

 The One 
Venue: Jun Atsushi & Kaoru Ichikawa Fine Art (Mie, Japan )  
Dates:14th to 21st July in 2013   


Venue: Ginza Mitsukoshi (Tokyo, JAPAN)
会期: 1st to 6th November in 2023.

Venue: WHAT CAFE (Tokyo, JAPAN)
Date: 3rd to 5th March in 2023.

Fine Art collection
Venue:  Matsuzakaya Nagoya (Nagoya, Japan)
Date: 15th December to 20th December in 2022

ASYAAF&Hidden Artists Festival
Gallery: Gallery LVS
Venue: Seoul Hongik Museum of Art (Seoul, Korea)
Date: 26th July to 21st August in 2022


Organizer: General Incorporated Association Art Fair Tokyo
Supported by: Kobayashi Gallery, Inc
Featured artists: Izumi Akiyama, Sei Shibusawa, Chihiro Tanaka, Taniho Reina, Rina Yokyama, Takeshi Tanaka, Towa Takaya

Venue;Tokyo International Forum 
Date: 7th March to 10th March, 2019
Official website:


Arcus Pride Art Exhibition 2023
Organizer: Clifford Chance International Law farm
Date: 29th Jun in 2023
Venue: Clifford Chance International Law-farm Tokyo 
Adress: Tokyo Palace Building, 3rd floor 1-1, Marunouchi 1-chome. Chiyoda-ku. Tokyo

Early Summer Breeze
Venue: Kobayashi gallery (Tokyo, Japan)
Date: 10th to 20th May in 2023
Adress: 3F 1-15-13 Shiba Minato-ku Tokyo JAPAN

ONBEAT Art show
Organizer: Onbeat Magazine
Venue: Contemporary art gallery at Hankyu Mens Osaka (Osaka, Japan)
Date: 17th to 21st May in 2023
Adress: 7-10 Kakuda-cho, Kita-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka

ART is ... vol.26
Organizer: WHAT CAFE
Date: 29th April to 21st May in 2023
Adress: 2-1-11 Higashi Shinagawa, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo

Chroma Distance

Venue:  POLA MUSEUM ANNEX (Tokyo, Japan)
Collaboration: TRiCERA, Inc
Date: 20th January to 5th February in 2023

Spiral Xmas Market -Part3

Venue:  Spiral, Wacoal Art Center (Tokyo, Japan)
Date: 20th December to 25th December in 2022

diverse paintings
Venue:  Seibu Shibuya Art Gallery (Tokyo, Japan)
Date: 27th September to 10th October in 2022


Venue: WHAT CAFE (Tokyo, Japan)
Date: 5th to 21st August in 2022



Venue: Gallery AZUR (Berlin, Germany)
Date: 22nd July to 16th August in 2022


Venue: Hertz Art Lab (Tokyo, Japan)
Date: 19th to 31st July in 2022

Exhibition by WHAT CAFE in association with 4 Galleries -CROSSROADS-

Venue: WHAT CAFE (Tokyo, Japan)
Date: 5th to 23rd March in 2022
Virtual exhibition URL: visit the virtual exhibition

Arcus Pride Art Exhibition 2021

Organizer: Clifford Chance International Law farm
Venue: Virtual exhibition
Virtual exhibition URL: visit the virtual exhibition
Featured artists: Dan Bailey, Saka Matsushita, NARI, Shun Sudo, Towa Takaya and Kojin Toneyama.

Things may or may not be useful but beautiful

Venue: Monkey Galley DAIKANYAMA (Tokyo, Japan)
Date: 1st Feb to 11th Feb in 2020 

How Tokyo Biennale ?

Organizer: General Incorporated Association Tokyo Biennale
Venue: 3331 Arts Chiyoda
Adress: 6-11-14, Higashikanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, JAPAN
Date: 14th Oct to 4th Nov in 2019 
Official website

Arcus Pride Art Exhibition 2019

Organizer: Clifford Chance International Law farm
Support: JP Morgan Japan
Date: 28th Jun in 2019
Venue: JP Morgan Tokyo brunch
Adress: Tokyo Building, 7-3, Marunouchi 2-chome, Chiyoda-ku,Tokyo 100-6432

Arcus Pride Art Exhibition

Organizer: Clifford Chance International Law farm
Date: 27th Jun  in 2019
Venue: Clifford Chance International Law-farm Tokyo 
Adress: Tokyo Palace Building, 3rd floor 1-1, Marunouchi 1-chome. Chiyoda-ku. Tokyo 100-0005


Smile of Flowers 

Organizer: Kobayashi Gallery, Inc
Featured artists: Izumi Akiyama, Luzia Shimons, Towa Takaya, Reina Taniho.
Date: 27th Nov to 8th Dec 2018
Venue: Kobayashi Gallery
Adress; 3F, 1-15-13,Shiba, Minato-ku, Tokyo, JAPAN  

Sven Fresher Green

Organizer: Kobayashi Gallery, Inc
Featured artists: Izumi Akiyama, Takeshi Tanaka, Sei Shibusawa, Towa Takaya, Rina Yokouchi, Chisato Tanaka.
Date: 15th to 25th May 2018
Venue: Kobayashi Gallery
Adress; 3F, 1-15-13,Shiba, Minato-ku, Tokyo, JAPAN  


Curation: Jyunya Utsumi 
Venue:Tokyo University of the Arts (Exhibition Room,  Faculty of Music)
Date: 6th -9th Dec 2017 
Featured artists: Jyuri Akiyama, Towa Takaya
Adress:12-8 Ueno Park, Taito-ku, Tokyo, JAPAN 110-8714


Wework x Creative Debuts 

Organizer: Creative Debuts 
Venue: Wework at Devonshire Square (London,UK) 
Date: 25th April 2016 -

Oliver Agency x Creative Debuts 

Organizer: Creative Debuts 
Venue: Oliver Agency (Shoreditch, London, UK)
Date: 25th April 2016 -

ON the THRESHOLD II: Formal Presence

Venue: Oriental Museum
Date: 29th Jan to 20th May 2016



Venue: Oriental Museum/ Teikyo University DURHAM (Durham, UK)
Date: 10th to 15th Nov 2015


Hoxton Hotel x Creative Debuts 

Organizer: Creative Debuts
Venue: Hoxton Gallery in Hoxton Hotel Holborn (London, UK) 
Date: 6th October 2015- 6th January 2016



Graduates Exhibition curated by VJB Arts,
Organizer and curation : VJB Arts
Venue: 10 Gresham Street, (London, UK) 
Date: Sep in 2015 to Jan in 2016


Creative Debuts Showcase VIII  (Whitechapel Gallery's First Thursday)

Organizer: Creative Debuts
Venue: Black and White building (London, UK) 2015


Goldsmiths, University of London (London, UK)
Date: 18th to 22rd June in 2015
Venue: Ben Pimlott Building. And St. James Church, New Cross Road, Goldsmiths, New Cross, London SE14 6AD.


Organizer: We.Create International 
Venue: Dalston Department Store project space  (London, UK)
Date: 26th to 29th June in 2014



Organizer: Kameyama Triennale Committee
Venue: Shiboriya, Kameyama Higashi shopping street (Mie, Japan)  2012
Date: 28th Oct to 4th Nov in 2012 

Painting Show                              

Central Saint Martins College of Art (London, UK)  2012
Venue:  Back Hill. 10 Back Hill, London, EC1R 5EN, UK



Support: Keio University Art Center
Venue: Keio Raiousya Gallery  (Kanagawa, Japan)   
Date: 6th to 15th Dec 2010


Maebashi Film Festival 2016

Organizer: Maebashi Film Festival Execution Committee
Date: 11th and 12th Nov 2016 (Maebashi, Japan)



Shiseido MIRAI Technology institute x TOWA TAKAYA
Joint research (Ongoing project)


live performance for VR painting @ NTT docomo Ventures,(Tokyo, Japan)
Organizer: ARC
Date: 22nd March 2017
Technical assistance: Nano media 
Support: NTT docomo Ventures


TUNAGARI Project -Picture Happiness on Earth-

Venue; National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan)
Event website:

Art x Ecology x Japan

Online webiner (Participated as aft for all )
This talk series is hosted by Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation in partnership with art for all, and organised by Yoi Kawakubo, Keiko Koshihara, Towa Takaya and Haruna Takeda.
About webiner:



Young Creators Award 2017 

Organizer: MI Gallery
Venue: 1st Floor, 1-2-23, Nishitenman, Kita-ku, Osaka 530-0047
Date: 14th-31st Oct, 2017 (Osaka, Japan)    

83rd KOKUTEN                                   

Date : 29th April to 11th May in 2009
Organizer: KOKUGAKAI
Supporter: NHK Public Welfare Organization