Tokyo Contemporary Art Award



Born in Aichi in 1980
Based in Miyagi


    • October 7, 2023-January 12, 2024
      “Singing in Union Part 8: BETWEEN WAVES”
      Industry City, New York


Graduated with an MA from Chelsea College of Art and Design, London Institute in 2004

Recent exhibitions

  • 2022 “SHÉHÉRAZADE AT NIGHT,” Palais de Tokyo, Paris
  • 2022 “JAPAN. BODY_PERFORM_LIVE: Resistance and Resilience in Japanese Contemporary Art,” Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea, Milan
  • 2022 “I have not loved (enough or worked),” Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
  • 2022 “17th Istanbul Biennial”
  • 2022 Kyoto Experiment 2022 “Merzbow, Balázs Pándi & Richard Pinhas with Lieko Shiga ‘Bipolar’,” Kyoto Art Theater Shunjuza
  • 2021 “Collection Exhibition 2: BLUE,” 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
  • 2021 “Compassionate Grounds: Ten Years on in Tohoku,” Composite, Melbourne
  • 2021 “Reborn-Art Festival 2021-22,” Oshika Peninsula (Kozumi), Miyagi
  • 2021 “Off the Wall,” San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
  • 2019 Solo Exhibition “Shiga Lieko: Human Spring,” Tokyo Photographic Art Museum
  • 2018 Solo Exhibition “Building Romance,” Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Aichi
  • 2017 Solo Exhibition “Lieko Shiga: Blind Date,” Marugame Genichiro-Inokuma Museum of Contemporary Art, Kagawa
  • 2015 “Ocean of Images: New Photography 2015,” The Museum of Modern Art, New York
  • 2013 Solo Exhibition “CANARY,” Foam Museum, Amsterdam
  • 2012 Solo Exhibition “RASENKAIGAN,” Sendai Mediatheque 6th floor Gallery
  • 2010 “Aichi Triennale 2010: Arts and Cities,” Aichi Arts Center
  • “Roppongi Crossing 2010: Can There Be Art? The Creative Potential of a New Japan,” Mori Art Museum, Tokyo
  • 2008 “Trace Elements,” Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery
  • 2006 “Rapt! Contemporary art from Japan,” Seventh Gallery, Melbourne


  • 2014 “The 24th Takashimaya Art Award,” Takashimaya Cultural Foundation
  • 2009 “ICP Infinity Award,” Young Photographer
  • 2007 “The 33rd Kimura Ihei Award”

“As someone who grew up in a clean and safe environment that favored convenience, my affinity with camera equipment was an extremely violent one,” says Shiga, for whom the space-time of photography was a salvation and excitement greater than “death.” In 2008, Shiga moved to Miyagi Prefecture, where she became involved in the local community and continued producing works related to memories that span generations, thinking about life from imaginations of death, and the relationship between nature and human society. Her experiences in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake, which saw the breaking down of social functions along the coast and the unforgiving disposition of the laws of nature, link back to “recovery” efforts seen in postwar Japan, inciting an overwhelming sense of déjà vu. Shiga, through her creative process and production, seeks the roots of the human spirit. Her works are intent on visualizing, through the medium of photography, what she calls “the eternal present,” a moment that is neither past nor future suspended in space-time. They are photographic spaces in which the viewer can see their own body and consciousness reflected back as if looking in a mirror.

Chair of the Selection Committee Comment

This year’s selection process was made even more challenging with the continuation of COVID-19 and the impossibility to travel. The majority of jury members couldn’t be at the artist studios physically. Instead, we relied heavily on studio visits and artist presentations on the Internet. Thanks to the superb organization of the TCAA team and the extreme patience and dedication of each artist, we were able to get a very comprehensive and in-depth survey of each artist’s practice.

With a mixture of jury members who have been involved in this award since the very beginning and new jury members, the discussion before the selection process and during the final deliberation was extremely lively and constructive. There have been a lot of reflections and consideration of how this award has been positioned and organized and how to move forward in the future. There has been a considerable amount of self-reflection on the jury’s part in terms of the criteria of evaluation. In the deliberation meeting, we were able to discuss each artist in detail, conveying each of our views frankly and fully. The final decision was a well-weighed and thoroughly-discussed one.

At a critical time such as this, when conditions of globalization is subject to challenge and re-examination, TCAA continues to make utmost efforts to connect artists to different aspects of the larger art world. The awards of such an endeavor, supporting artists to continue working and aiming for higher goals, will soon to come to fruition in the near future. As jury members, we are very honored to be part of such an outward-looking and future-looking commitment.

Carol Yinghua LU (Director, Beijing Inside-Out Art Museum)

Reasons for the Award

Shiga Lieko is highly acclaimed for her thoughtful and earnest attitude toward her reality and production, her exploration of the equivalence between human spirituality and the nature of the photographic medium, and an original perspective that cuts across the nature of photography and the body. She considers how modern society has suppressed the human spirit in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake and the reconstruction that has followed. The thought behind her creative process condenses important elements for reflecting on the society in which we find ourselves, including concepts like human nature, center and periphery, death and mourning, regulation and freedom, and harmony with nature. It is of great significance that this award will support her efforts to confront these issues in the creation of her future works.

TCAA 2022-2024 WINNERS

TCAA 2021-2023 WINNERS

TCAA 2020-2022 WINNERS

  • FUJII Hikaru
  • YAMASHIRO Chikako

TCAA 2019-2021 WINNERS

  • KAZAMA Sachiko
  • SHITAMICHI Motoyuki