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Toshi Ueshina: All Souls Procession
October 19 through November 27, 2012

The Temple Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of Toshi Ueshina’s photographs of Tucson’s All Souls Procession, Toshi Ueshina: All Souls Procession, which opens Friday, October 26 with an artist reception from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.  Inspired by the 500-year old tradition of Obon,  the Japanese Buddhist celebration that honors one's forebears through family visits to ancestral graves,  and music and dance celebrations, photographer  Toshi Ueshina embarked on a five year project to photograph Tucson’s annual All Souls Procession from 2006-2011.

Ueshina experienced a spiritual epiphany while participating in a similar procession in Japan and was immediately drawn to the All Souls Procession upon moving to Tucson.  Speaking about his experience in Japan, he said, “As I placed myself in this procession where various cultures, religions, and rituals intertwine, suddenly, I wondered who I was, and what exactly was I doing here. I remember being engulfed by these strange feelings.”

While Ueshina’s photographs capture the mysticism and kinetic energy of the procession, they also express the yearning for a more meaningful existence.  In Chantico distorted, costumed and made-up figures are enveloped by sweeping strands of light that seem to emerge from the deep recesses of the image. Figures and objects collide along a horizontal plane, converging and combining randomly within the picture. Paradoxically, participating in this unruly communion inspires us to return to our lives a day later with a renewed sense of purpose.

Please join us at the artist reception for Toshi Ueshina: All Souls Procession on Friday, October 26, 2012 from 5:30 to 7:30pm. The Temple Gallery is located at the Temple of Music and Art 330 S. Scott Ave. in downtown Tucson. Regular hours are Monday-Friday, 10am to 5pm and on Saturday and Sunday, before Arizona Theatre Company Performances. For more information call Etherton Gallery (which manages the Temple Gallery) at 520.624.7370 or email us at info@ethertongallery.com.


Artist Statement

This series is constructed from photographs of Day of the Dead Procession, an event in Tucson held around early November each year. The Day of the Dead celebrated here, is one of the national holidays of the Latin American countries, especially Mexico. In regards to Mexico’s origin, it appears to be a festival which is dedicated to goddess Mictecacihuatl, an Aztec Queen of Mictlan, the underworld.  This festival seems to be like the Halloween in the United States, and the Obon festival in Japan. The photographs in this series are taken from 2006 to 2011 at Tucson, Arizona.

Tucson, being close to Mexico, is greatly influenced by their culture. But aside from that, in this city, various groups participate through various ways, so there seem to be great varieties because of that. In the past, I have participated in the group that was doing Japan’s Oodaiko (big drums) once. I joined the procession while wearing a kimono, and marched, performing the Bon Festival dance. As I danced, the people on the roadside started throwing necklaces at me, so I picked them up wondering what it was about; their thoughts about peace, their hopes, were written as messages on it. I placed them around my neck, while wearing a kimono, and danced the Bon Festival dance to the rhythm of the Japanese drums beats made by Americans. I could hear the sounds bagpipes from behind. The Bali dancers and the circus were marching as well. As I placed myself in this procession where various cultures, religions, and rituals intertwine, suddenly, I wondered who I was, and what exactly was I doing here. I remember being engulfed by these strange feelings.

The overlapping images in this series are created by partially advancing the film between exposures. By doing that, various unexpected images are produced. This is a method of production where I take in the unintended parts when creating the images, and is also a method to find new possibilities.

            Toshi Ueshina



Brief descriptions of Aztec gods used for the titles

Citlalicue is a goddess who created the stars along with her husband, Citlalatonac. They are said to be associated with the first pair of humans in Aztec mythology called Nata and Nena.

Tezcatlipoca was the central deity in the Aztec religion. His name, in Nahuatl language, is usually translated as “Smoking Mirror.” He is said to have black and yellow stripes painted across his face when depicted; sometimes, he was shown with mirror on his chest that smokes came out.

Xipe Totec, who was god of agriculture, vegetation, the east, disease, spring, goldsmiths, silversmiths and the seasons, was a god who dies, and is resurrected again. The god is seen wearing flayed human skin, which were believed to have some kind of curative properties. He was also believed as the god who invented war.

Tlazolteotl was a goddess of sin, vice, and sexual misdeeds, but also was a goddess of purification. She forgave the sins and the diseases that were caused by acts of misdeeds.

Xolotl is said to be a god of fire and bad luck, as well as lightning and death. He was the dark personification of the evening star Venus, and is seen as a skeleton, a dog-headed man, or a monster animal with its feet reversed.

Chantico is an Aztec goddess of fires in the family hearth and volcanoes, who was turned into a dog by Tonacatecuhtli. The goddess was turned into a dog because she ate paprika, which is a banned food in fast breaking customs, with roasted fish and broke a fast.

Xochipilli was a young god of art, games, beauty, dancing, flowers, and song. He also is one of the gods that is responsible for agricultural produce and fertility, so is often associated gods like Cinteotl, god of maize, and Tlaloc, god of rain.

Xiuhtecuhtli, god of fire, day, and heat, is the personification of life after death, and was the lord of volcanoes. He was also the patron god of the Aztec Emperors, and those emperors were regarded as Xiuhtecuhtli’s living embodiment at their enthronement.

Huehuecoyotl (Ueuecoyotl) is the god who is a shape-shifter, and is associated with drums and coyote. He is known to be a trickster god of indulgence and pranks, but also was a dualistic god just like the other Aztec gods.  

Teoyaomicqui, or Teoyaomiqui, was the god of the dead souls who are lost, or the god of dead warriors. He was a solar deity as well, and was the god of the Sixth Hour of the day.

Yacatecuhtli whose symbol is bundle of staves, was a guardian god for commerce and merchant travelers in the Aztec mythology. His name can also be written as Yiacatecuhtli.

Coatlicue is a Aztec goddess said to be the “Mother of Gods”, who is represented as a women with a skirt of writhing snakes and a necklace made of human parts like hearts, hands, and skulls. She is referred by several different names, including “Goddess of Fire and Fertility” and “Goddess of Life, Death, and Rebirth.”

Itztlacoliuhqui is the god of frost, stone and coldness. This god was once called Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli, the lord of dawn. When the sun god Tonatiuh demanded the other gods obedience and sacrifice, Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli became enraged, and shot arrows at the sun. But the arrow missed, was thrown back, and pierced through the head of Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli. From then, Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli became Itztlacoliuhqui.

Ītzpāpālōtl was a goddess who was the Queen of Tamoanchan, paradise world for the victims of infant mortality, that was said to be the place where humans were created.
It is said that this goddess can appear in the form of a beautiful and seductive woman as well as a goddess with skeletal head and butterfly wings that is supplied with stone blades.

Tonatiuh was the son god in the Aztec mythology, and is known as the fifth sun. According to Aztec mythology, Tonatiuh demanded human sacrifice as a tribute, and without it, he refused to move through the sky. It is said that as many as 20,000 people was sacrificed, but the number could be different.




Temple Gallery
Since 1990, Etherton Gallery has managed the Temple Gallery at the historic Temple of Music and Art, home of the Arizona Theatre Company. The gallery is a mainstay of the downtown Tucson arts community and hosts several exhibitions each year featuring painting and mixed media by top local and regional artists. The Temple Gallery is located in SoCo (the recently designated cultural district South of Congress) at 330 S. Scott Avenue. Regular gallery hours are Monday – Friday, 10am-5pm and before Arizona Theatre Company Performances on Saturday and Sunday. For more information, please contact Etherton Gallery at (520) 624-7370 or info@ethertongallery.com. To confirm Temple Gallery weekend hours, call the Temple of Music and Art box office at (520)622-2823.



Gallery hours are Monday - Friday 10am-6pm
and prior to Arizona Theatre Company performances

The Temple Gallery is managed by
Phone: 520-624-7370

at the Temple of Music and Art
330 South Scott Avenue
Tucson, Arizona

Etherton - Temple Gallery