Haragei was a very interesting yet bland artwork that requires a clear head to understand it. I was not of the right mind when I visited as I had been cycling most of the day in 30C heat. I honestly feel like I didn’t appreciate the artwork properly because of the heat. The artwork is a series of comics drawn by Sarnath Banerjee, and Indian artist. The main floor contained the entire collection while the main paintings were upstairs.
Haragei was not as interesting as I would have liked as it felt like a simple gallery inside an old building. The second floor showcased a story of various people in Japan. The main story is of a mustached man going to a bath house with a woman dressed as a geisha. You can imagine the complete story and it wasn’t very suitable for kids. It felt a bit stereotypical of what a Japanese business man or a member of organized crime might be part of. There was also a connection to another older gentleman with a horn that was listening to things that looked like a bug but perhaps it was the big vats of soy sauce of Shodoshima.
The main floor was where the more interesting works were. There were big books of Sarnath Banerjee’s work where you can see various lives of people in Japan and India. While I felt the graphic novels were a bit strange and the style of the artist was not to my personal liking, I do feel that he captured a lot of information in the simple drawings. I can understand why people would like his art but I was not particularly interested.
There was also another room next door to the main gallery. The second room was free as there were no people watching it and it did have a few other drawings, more focused on Indian life.
My entire visit to Haragei was extremely affected by the heat of summer. It was one of the hottest days of the year when I visited and I had sweat running down my face the entire time I was there. There was even a friendly girl from Taiwan who remembered me from Megijima from earlier in the week. I am sorry to say that I was not as friendly as I should have been as I was just too overheated and close to feeling heat stroke. I even felt that I couldn’t really enjoy the art either so please take my review of this piece with a grain of salt. Upon reflection and looking at Sarnath Banerjee’s other works, I still don’t really like his style but that is only my personal taste and not a slight against his talents.
Note: Haragei is no longer available on Shodoshima.
- Haragei (Official Setouchi Triennale Site)