Sayumi Kudo Expresses Her Vision of Femininity Through Oneirism

In her drawings, the artist questions her condition as a woman, with some aspects she can express in words and others that are subconscious.


WordsHenri Robert

© Sayumi Kudo

Their naked bodies, part of which are immersed in an environment made up of feathers, flowers, and butterflies, could represent the focus of the viewer’s attention. However, most striking in the work of Sayumi Kudo are the expressions of these women, symbolising the emotions the artist experiences.

The artist, born in 1983 in Saitama Prefecture, primarily expresses herself in black and white, using a pen and Kent paper. But what does her dreamlike universe hide?


Affirming one’s femininity to go beyond it

Her femininity and relationship with women’s place in society underpin the sentiments that the artist expresses in her drawings, and she explains to Pen: ‘I affirm and accept that I am a woman, and at the same time, I feel friction from the difficulty of living and the contradictions.’

I draw based on the emotions I feel at the time and what I think is beautiful’, Sayumi Kudo continues. With influences ranging from the world of manga to mythology, her references include the painters Munch, Gustave Moreau, and Hasui Kawase, and illustrators Yoshitaka Amano and Seiichi Hayashi. The artist studied at Musashino Art University and underlines the position occupied by her subconscious, born out of her personal journey as a woman.

I am currently 37 years old, and I draw pictures while raising my three children as a normal housewife in Japan. I have experienced the position of a woman when single, my relationship with the opposite sex, my marriage and the time after this marriage, and the feeling of being caught in the storm of hormonal balance that comes with childbirth.’

The women who appear in her drawings, with expressions that combine multiple emotions, seem difficult to interpret and give the impression of enduring their condition. Thus, the flora and fauna that appear around them are intended as ‘a visible representation of the people, society, things I like, things I dislike, and many other external factors that I have written about’, the artist explains.

Sayumi Kudo’s work expresses the tension specific to how she questions her femininity in a society, which, in certain senses, appears to be becoming more tolerant and inclusive. ‘I still think and act as a woman, and I feel an irresistible sexuality, like a gene, and I go back and forth between affirming myself as a woman and being fed up with the fact that I am a woman.’


Sayumi Kudo’s work can be viewed on her Facebook page and on the Gallery Kitai website.

© Sayumi Kudo

© Sayumi Kudo

© Sayumi Kudo