In 女であるために (To Be a Woman) Otsuka showcases two new interrelated series of embellished photographs that aim to examine issues of female self-expression within the societal expectation for conformity.

- To be women, is to live powerfully -

To live as women.

To conform to society, to conform with others.

Women have reasons for choosing their clothes.

There are expectations from society and other people.

What does it mean to be yourself as a woman?

I paint and decorate women.

Because we are strong, because we are women.



Drawn to creating art since childhood, SAKI OTSUKA continues to work while living with c-PTSD, which developed at the age of 15. She creates works with a consistent message of "I am here.", also working as a photographer, she draws from the power that emanates from the center of the self to create objective photographs. Her works are diverse, often including installations.

From the Artist:

"Ever since that day when I was 15, I have lost myself.

Since that day, the nightmares I repeatedly have, the damage I’ve accumulated, and the wounds caused by words have become an enormous pain that remains in my heart.

I live my life with c-PTSD.

My paintings and photographs exist to show that “I am here” after having lost myself to sexual abuse.


I’ve been drawing and painting since my childhood. Images came into my mind one after another, and I wanted to become a painter. Now, to reflect the state of my mind, I make two different types of paintings: one is filled with details and small circles, the other is roughly spread ink and paint. Characteristically, the mood and style of my paintings varies with my mental state. The circles are me and proof that “I am here”. I draw them one by one in order to regain my lost self. The ink and paint that I work roughly and vigorously are me, the liberation of my suppressed self.

For me, I am a soul. To regain the soul I’ve lost, I paint and fill myself with new life


The feeling and knowing that “I am here” is captured in my photography, both subjectively and objectively. As a subject, I modeled for many photographers. The ideas and poses that came from me were always seen as the photographer’s, not mine. The photos that showed my life were also seen as the photographer’s, not mine. I grew so tired of being robbed and began photographing myself, because I am mine.

The feeling and knowing that “I am here” led me to these images that emanate from my past memories and trauma. Starting from self-portraits that traced my past and inner self, I have come to shoot a wide range of subjects, including women, male and female nudes, and landscapes.

The self-portrait works include “Sacrifice” and “Drowning”, which depict sexual abuse, “me”, a collage of me being trampled by men, “Decorate”, a series of painted photos created after realizing I was, in response to my trauma, avoiding having any kind of conspicuous appearance, and “MONSTER”, a self-portrait and installation series informed by my struggle with c-PTSD. My photographic work is still largely self-oriented. The difficulty of living for women is a burden I share, and I think that nudity reveals the wounds of sex and desire, at least, that’s the only reality I’ve ever seen. 

My ongoing crow and mountain series express the pain of my childhood, and I believe them to be linked to the misunderstanding of sexual abuse victims and their anger.

Landscape photography is, in a sense, another kind of self-portrait that reaffirms to me that “I am here”. The everyday world in which I exist, the scenery that I find beautiful, the record of the time I have spent, all of these things are reality, and I am a self-portrait of the world in which I exist."


  • Born in Tokyo
  • Female