Tabata Hideomi

Tabata Hideomi - Bio Picture
Tabata Hideomi
Tabata Hideomi’s life was intercepted at infancy when he drank arsenic in adulterated baby formula, which produced profound neurological damage.
Bath Time #2
Bath Time #2 (detail)
Digital Prints, 7” x 12”
1999
Access Living Art Collection
Gift of the Artist

Please click on download at the bottom to see full Image.
Bath Time #4
Bath Time #4 (detail)
Digital Prints, 7” x 12”
1999
Access Living Art Collection
Gift of the Artist

Please click on download at the bottom to see full Image.
BIO
Tabata Hideomi’s life was intercepted at infancy when he drank arsenic in adulterated baby formula, which produced profound neurological damage. His family was given $800 for this corporate malpractice. Instead of remaining sequestered in his family’s home and care, Hideomi moved to Kyoto, where he became active in the Center for Independent Living. He was a founder of a cultural festival managed by and for a neighborhood of disenfranchised Japanese and Koreans, including those with physical and mental disabilities. Several months after these photographs were taken he died while alone at night.

THE ART
Almost all countries have ways of keeping people with visible disabilities hidden from public view. Some Asian cultures in particular (though in no way exclusively) have very precise codes for social inclusion. In Japan, people with visible disabilities have often been kept out of view by being forced to stay in their family’s homes or in cloistered institutions. When this happens, disability becomes mysterious, alien, and threatening through the simple fact of its absence in everyday communal experience.

Hideomi had a commitment to demystify the disabled body. He invited photographer Bruce Caron to spend a whole day with him, documenting his activities. These photographs are part of a series where we accompany Hideomi while he rises, bathes, dresses, eats, and continues to go about his day. These photos have an extra significance; in Japan, public bathing is an ancient tradition and a sustaining element of communal cohesion. Disabled people are not usually included. These photos reverse that state of affairs. Though Hideomi appears to be alone, by inviting us to witness his pleasure in the water, he reconstructs this timeless, meaningful ritual.

Hideomi’s work is represented by Bruce Caron