Naoko Mabon is a freelance curator in contemporary art, born and raised in the Kyushu island of Japan and is currently based in Oban in Scotland, another island country. Naoko gained a BA in 2005 and a MA in 2007 from the Art Science Department of Tama Art University in Tokyo. Before initiating her own curatorial practice WAGON in 2014, she worked in both public and private sectors in contemporary art across Japan and the UK for over a decade.
As an immigrant whose body always finds itself ‘in-between translation/mistranslation’, Naoko is interested in the volatile and fictitious nature of one’s identity, as well as how we could possibly make relationships with what we see as ‘others’ beyond common ground. Through a transcultural, site-specific and collaborative approach in her practice, she aims to realise different shapes of artistic projects in an open, honest and inviting, yet experimental, challenging, and critical way towards the particular subject contexts.
Recent work includes: Ilana Halperin: The Rock Cycle (Yamaguchi), a cross-disciplinary project between Yamaguchi and Scotland, Yamaguchi (Akiyoshi-dai Museum of Natural History; Akiyoshidai International Art Village; and ‘Karstar’ The Mine-Akiyoshidai Karst Plateau Geopark Center), Japan and Pier Arts Centre, Orkney, Scotland (2019-2021); Kyojitsu-Hiniku: Between the Skin and the Flesh of Japan, as part of the nation-wide commemoration ‘110 Years of Japanese Immigration in Brazil’, Pavilhão Japonês, Ibirapuera Park, São Paulo, Brazil (2018); Atsuo Hukuda and Alan Johnston two-person show, Suisei-Art, Kanazawa, Japan (2018); Ilana Halperin: Geologic Intimacy (Yu no Hana), art-science project between Kyushu and Scotland, Fujiya Gallery Hanayamomo, Beppu, Japan and Peacock Visual Arts, Aberdeen, Scotland (2015-2017); Leaves Without Routes, Nanmoncho323, Taipei Botanical Garden, Taiwan (2016); Bushiro Mohri exhibition, AIS Gallery, Gunma, Japan (2016); among others.