Kentaro Okawara's joyful paintings tell us to put down our phones and make real connections with people we love

All images courtesy of the artist and gallery

For his first UK solo show, Japanese artist Kentaro Okawara continues his long-held belief that making art is an expression of love and a means to connect with each other.

On show at Public Gallery in London from 10 July, the new series of paintings, sculptures and drawings encourage us to think again, cast aside our differences and re-connect to our shared humanity.

Within his world of bright colours and stylised motifs, his works address the importance of direct eye-to-eye and face-to-face communication, particularly in a digital age where we seem to exchange our thoughts and feelings primarily over the Internet.

In each piece, you'll find a cocktail of humans, creatures, and personified objects that interact with each other in intimate and bizarre ways to create a world that can be endearingly engaged by all. This idea of inclusivity is at the core of his work: "I want to continue to create a space and a world that can be shared across cultures and generations," he said.

"When I was growing up, I began to realise that everyone has a different way of seeing and experiencing the world. I began to see that even though the world is big and complex, it is also very intertwined. It all comes down to the simplest and most important level which is connecting with people."

Hold Tight at Public Gallery in East London runs from 10 July until 3 August 2019.