Reminders Photography Stronghold Gallery will be celebrating its 4th year anniversary. We will be proudly organizing Junpei Ueda’s solo show in upcoming November. He is one of the 2015 Photobook As Object workshop participants and he has been working on his book project “Picture of My Life” almost a year and finally it’ll be launched at the exhibition. Prior to the show, Junpei is sharing a series of his essay.

On the night of November 27, my mother left the house alone. It was raining.

My father, who was accustomed to a nap before his night shift, woke up to find her missing from the house. Panicked, he searched for her all over the neighborhood, but to no avail. He called the police, and together with my brother and his co-workers, they searched through the night.

It was early the next morning when my father got a call from the police. They had found the body of a middle-aged woman who had jumped to her death. They said it could be his wife and asked him to come to the police station to identify the body.

My father and brother left for the police mortuary. I don’t know what was going through their heads when they identified my mother’s body, never to move again.

– What was I doing? –
– Why was my mother so lonely that she would kill herself? –

After the death of my mother, my father did not stop drinking. He was diabetic and usually held back on alcohol, but I guess the reality of my mother’s suicide was too much for him to face sober. “You fool. Why’d you have to go kill yourself?” he would cry, kicking her casket. The frustration and regret he must have faced. I felt my father’s emotions so much it hurt.

My brother had just entered the family business, a shipment agency that my father ran. After my mother’s funeral, they would console one another over drinks.

“Junpei, that idiot! What’s he been getting into? Give him a good smack for me when he gets back,” my father had said. “She wouldn’t have died if he were here.”
“Wasn’t mom always following his arse around everywhere he went?”

Following that conversation, on December 7, my brother went into the bedroom at 7pm to prepare and rest for the night shift. My father had told him that they’d have to make the rounds to their clients the next day as formalities for the funeral.

Around 10pm, my brother woke up and left the bedroom to use the toilet. Something caught his attention in the darkness of the stairwell that led up to the roof. He squinted his sleepy eyes only to see that our father had hung himself.

—- To be continued to #6.

English translation: Miyuki Okuyama
English proofreading: Tan Lee Kuen

Essay archives:
Picture of My Life Essay #1 My Father’s Paintings by Junpei Ueda
Picture of My Life Essay #2 My Parents by Junpei Ueda
Picture of My Life Essay #3 The Escape by Junpei Ueda
Picture of My Life Essay #4 Nightmare by Junpei Ueda
His exhibition forthcoming November 3rd to 27th.
Picture of My Life has been all pre-ordered.