SEPT. 2020 NYC
Thursday, September 23 through Sunday, October 31
Opening Reception: Thursday, September 23 from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.
NowHere – 40 Wooster Street (between Grand and Broome Streets)
During the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw a wide range of reactions from our friends, neighbors, and strangers. We each went through a spectrum of emotions ourselves. Some people retreated; some resisted. Early in the pandemic, many took to the streets to protest police violence. And many artists, seeking a way to comprehend the state of the world, set out to make new work in this new climate. Sarai Mari is one of them.
Like a lot of us, she spent the first few months of quarantine fearing the worst: Is this virus going to kill us all? But as time went on, she saw strength and defiance rising up in her adopted hometown of New York City, a city which again and again has proven its ability to persevere.
By August 2020, things were far from fixed—they still aren’t—but they were improving in New York. During that month, a publisher from Japan gave Mari an assignment: Get out there and shoot the month of September 2020 in New York City. And so, Mari, who had no experience with street photography—her practice up until that point was assignment-based—ventured into an uncharted area of her chosen medium. What she found thrilled her.
Carrying three cameras, Mari explored a city that, rather than being a ghost town, was bursting with vibrancy. From roller discos in the park to protest marches in the streets to simpler moments capturing both friendships and solitude, Mari found that the spirit and diversity of city life continued despite the intervening months of fear and uncertainty.
About the Exhibition
In this exhibition, we see what Mari saw. And it’s not just the subject matter that compels us here. We are also witnessing an artist finding a new mode of expression. The honeymoon bliss of taking her first street photos and then growing day by day into an accomplished practitioner of the genre is an inspiring path to trace. From the center of Manhattan all the way out to the beaches at the edge of the city, Mari took the chance of asking strangers if she could take a picture of them.
We live in a world that has been indelibly changed by the pandemic. But life finds a way, and in the energy of the streets in cities like New York, we experience hope, joy, and solidarity.
For more information, please visit NowHere’s website. To attend the opening reception, please RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org by Tuesday, September 21. All guests must show proof of COVID vaccination and an ID to enter.
About Sarai Mari
Nara native Sarai Mari studied photography at Santa Monica College in Los Angeles when she was a teenager. She began her career as a photojournalist in New York, then moved back to Japan and transitioned to fashion photography. After six years in Tokyo, she relocated to London where she became a well-established fashion photographer, shooting for numerous magazines such as Dazed & Confused and Harper’s Bazaar UK.
In 2014, she moved back to New York where she has come to focus on portraiture. Mari’s first book, Naked, is a monograph of female nudes published in 2011 and is the culmination of her work with the subjects of femininity and female sexuality. In 2017, Mari released her second book, Speak Easy, with Damiani Books. The work in this book is a photographic investigation of the gender roles men and women play within society. The Japanese publisher THOUSAND, Inc. released Mari’s third book, Delusion, in May 2019. With this book, Mari’s dream of working with the art director Fabien Baron came true. Delusion is focused on Mari’s own phobias and fantasies. In March of 2021, Mari released her fourth book, September. 2020 NYC, from the publisher Purezine.
Follow her on Instagram at @saraimari724.
NowHere is a hub for emerging Japanese artists. The focus of the SoHo gallery is on creatives who come from Japan to New York City, whether for a visit or to stay. They feature work from a broad spectrum of media, from digital to fashion, culinary arts to photography, and everything in between. NowHere is dedicated to building community and expanding their artists’ networks. For more information, please visit NowHere’s website.