“I met Kaori when I was 24 years old and it was summer. Kaori was a woman and had gender identity disorder. We broke up after three years. Then, I met Yoko and we became lovers.
Yoko went to Thailand for sex reassignment surgery and removed her uterus. It was as small as a fist. I heard that people’s life became shorter when they removed their reproduction organs and received hormone therapy regularly. Since Yoko doesn’t have her uterus and breasts any longer, she can apply for a new family register as a man.
Kaori went through the breast removal operation and lives in Canada now. I wonder if people laugh at us when they know about our story. But we are not doing anything wrong.”
—From the introduction to Dildo
Momo Okabe is the Japanese photographer behind the two award-winning projects titled Dildo and Bible. The two projects portray the Japanese society and Okabe’s intimate relationships with two transgender lovers, whom she followed during their processes of transition.
When entering the world of Momo Okabe, you get an insight of the struggles of Okabe’s lovers and friends as a consequence from drug overdoses and the difficulties of achieving acceptance in society. The Japanese artist use Bible and Dildo to portray these persons complicated lives in this harsh environment while she is questioning society’s impact on peoples sexuality and address the important and complex issue of transsexuality.
But it is not only photos of genitals, sex and surgery. Okabe also include chaos and destruction in the form of photographs taken in Miyagi after the Fukushima earthquake struck Japan in 2011. These photographs are shown together with the documented struggles of Okabe’s lovers and friends. For Okabe, destruction and devastating feelings are related, and she is always aiming to make work about her actual experiences, and her feelings of loss and sadness.