Kumikaho Oshima's paintings of Barbie dolls highlight the revolution of Japanese women

All images courtesy of the artist. © Kumikaho Oshima

Tokyo-based artist Kumikaho Oshima is one of a new generation of female Japanese artists subverting the traditional expectations of women in Japan through her art.

While women in her homeland were traditionally subservient to men, in recent years the artist and her peers have noted the Western influence on Japanese culture, in which women increasingly see money as power.

As such, Oshima’s work critiques this change in Japanese women’s morals and desires, often using Barbie dolls as representations of superficial physical ideals. US dollars are also a common motif, alongside imagery of nudity and orgies that hint at the idea of everything—including the body—being for sale.

© Kumikaho Oshima

© Kumikaho Oshima

Through subtly painterly techniques and limited colour palettes, Oshima’s themes are delivered in smart, shrewd ways rather than brash, in-your-face assaults.

The artist’s work also draws on photographic techniques to increase their sense of potency, such as placing the subject away from the centre of the frame. She also employs close-ups to heighten the drama and strangeness: the odd joints of Barbie’s legs become visible so that she becomes bafflingly mechanical.

© Kumikaho Oshima

© Kumikaho Oshima

Oshima is part of the studio Crazy Noodles, which specialises in Japanese neo-pop and erotic representation of female characters engaged in subversive activities.

© Kumikaho Oshima

© Kumikaho Oshima

© Kumikaho Oshima

© Kumikaho Oshima

© Kumikaho Oshima

© Kumikaho Oshima

© Kumikaho Oshima

© Kumikaho Oshima