Fish Eyes - Sixth of Ten Brothers

Chinatsu Ban (Japanese, born in 1973)


Elephant: 28 3/4 x 28 x 49 inches Poop: 14 1/2 x 16 inches diameter

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Fiberglass, acrylic paint

Not On View


Asia, Contemporary Art



Since she first began making art in 1997, Chinatsu Ban has developed a singular aesthetic style, creating paintings and drawings of elephants and human figures that are rendered delicately and with a childlike touch, yet her depictions are tinged with psychological edge. Irresistibly cartoon-cute, Ban’s elephants are charged with intense meaning and personal symbolism and have associations with salvation for the artist. Recently Ban began her first foray into sculpture. Fish Eyes - Sixth of Ten Brothers is among this group of sculptures which formally resembles her colorful elephant drawings and paintings with their wide eyes, large bodies with small appendages, and no mouth.
Ban is among a number of younger Japanese artists specializing in “kawaii”, a cultural phenomenon peculiar to Japan. Meaning “cuteness”, kawaii is more than just an adjective, the word has taken on tremendous cultural resonance in recent decades where cuteness is increasingly accepted in Japan as a part of culture and national identity. Recent years, however, have seen much discussion about the role of kawaii as a façade, a way of hiding a darker side of contemporary Japan and its history. A number of young, mostly female artists have been making artwork that uses kawaii to explore the tumultuous society around them. Through paintings, drawings, photographs, animation, and handicrafts, these artists have been looking at Japanese culture from a female perspective, presenting kawaii as a form of escapism and distraction in a culture known for its strict social codes.


Signature painted on the base of the Poop reading: "Chinatsu Ban 2005."


The Artist, with Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York, NY, 2005; sold to Mr. Charles Bronfman, September 20, 2005; gift to Museum, 2007 (Accession date: March 21, 2007)

Credit Line

Gift of a Private Collection, New York


Courtesy Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York
©2005 Chinatsu Ban/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.