Tomoaki Suzuki at Ushaw College


Project Info


  • Tomoaki Suzuki


  • Ushaw College

Tomoaki Suzuki’s tiny urban figures inhabited the Gallery and Gardens of Ushaw College, a former Catholic Seminary near Durham. The realistic sculptures, that can take up to a year to complete, are beautifully crafted using the ancient art of Japanese wood carving, and are 30 per cent of human scale.

The graduate of Tokyo Zokei University and Goldsmiths College of Art has been making the models over the last two decades, choosing his subjects from the streets of east London.

“I was particularly drawn to Tomoaki’s work because we are looking to both history and the future. His work is a blend of traditional Japanese wood carving techniques, but it’s modern in terms of the people he is portraying.” – Lucy Jenkins, Cultural & Heritage Manager, Ushaw

“The overall impression one is left with after viewing Tomoaki Suzuki’s extraordinary sculptures is one of intimacy. He spends a great deal of time with each subject and, though traditional Japanese wood carving techniques and, more recently, bronze casts, he brings them to life with each button, belt and tattoo carefully rendered.” – The Crack magazine

The exhibition ran from 5 July – 15 September 2018

A&H was a curatorial advisor to Ushaw College contemporary programme

Ushaw College, near Durham, was founded in 1808 by scholars from the English College at Douai, who had fled France after the French Revolution. It traces its origins to Cardinal Allen’s Douai Seminary in the Spanish Netherlands in 1568. Formerly the largest Roman Catholic seminary in the north of England, by 2011 falling student numbers and rising costs forced the College’s closure. It remained derelict for some years, but in 2015 it reopened as a visitor attraction.

The Artist

Born in Ibaraki, Japan in 1972, Tomoaki Suzuki studied at Tokyo Zokei University before earning his MA in Fine Art from Goldsmiths College, London and his MA in Sculpture from City & Guilds Art School, London.