Shikoku no seijaku (Shikoku silence)
Shikoku’s ageing population and youth migration to Honshu and Kyushu are seeing many regional communities become ghost towns. Empty highways intersect the island’s mountainous interior, linking decaying ‘shutter towns’ where countless homes and businesses stand deserted. In some towns, up to half the residential buildings stand empty and are known colloquially as ‘akiya’ (empty house). The population of Nagoro town is now so small that the remaining elderly residents have populated the town with ‘scarecrow’ mannequins, posed as if undertaking the activities of their former neighbours. Shikoku’s dense natural environment is slowly reclaiming the homes, buildings, and infrastructure of other towns.
“Through Shikoku no seijaku (Shikoku silence), I aim to capture the melancholic beauty that remains in the wake of the region’s noticeable social change whilst documenting the disappearance of vibrant and authentic communities.”
Damien Drew is passionate about documenting the built environment and our relationship with it. He’s fascinated with what he sees as the loss of ‘place’, the erasure of unique communities and their replacement with homogenous franchised environments.
Drew observes that vital environments are being transformed so that ‘every place’ becomes ‘no place’. His images capture the beauty in unlikely locations, reframing loss and decay as an invitation for reflection and introspection.
Drew’s work has been featured in multiple publications and exhibited across Berlin, NYC and Sydney.
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