Naoko Mabon (b. Fukuoka) is a freelance curator in contemporary art currently based in Oban.
In her curatorial practice, Naoko aims to weave relationships among differences with what we see as “disparate others” beyond common ground. This motivation has been rooted in her own status as an immigrant and ethnic minority with a lived experience of disorientation and in-betweenness as part of a process and consequence of physical movement.
Naoko often works with people from different backgrounds, areas of profession and cultures through a collaborative, shared and actively involved approach.
By being affective, responsive and responsible for the concerns and historically underrepresented voices that are specific to a focused context, locality or community, Naoko challenges traditionally dominant perspectives and narrations. This specifically indicates her intention towards decolonial perspectives and acts, and commitment towards equality and diversity, based on the ongoing collaborative research and practice with fellow curators Rachel Grant and Francesca Zappia grounded in “care ethics”, a feminist approach to ethics.
Being conscious about the power and privilege that she may unintentionally hold as a curator who was born in Japan, Naoko tries to make such a hegemonic structure as flat and plural as possible. In- and outside of the professional practice, in addition, she cares about and continues to be something small, fragile and slow.
Ongoing and recent work includes: “Ilana Halperin: The Rock Cycle (Yamaguchi)”, a cross-disciplinary project between Yamaguchi and Scotland (2019–ongoing); “Kyojitsu-Hiniku: Between the Skin and the Flesh of Japan”, an exhibition and series of events as part of the 110 Years of Japanese Immigration in Brazil, Pavilhão Japonês, São Paulo, Brazil (2018); “Leaves Without Routes”, an exhibition and related event at a Japanese-style house originally built during the Japanese colonial period in Taipei Botanical Garden, Taiwan (2016); among others.