Amabie Postcard Project with Cindy Mochizuki

Mon Mar 15, 1 PM

Vancouver Art Gallery

Cindy Mochizuki, Amabie, 2020 (still), video, watercolour on paper and digital animation, Courtesy of the Artist

Join us for a week of virtual spring break programs from March 15 to 19 that consider the many ways that we can express our ideas, identities and stories through the real, imagined and dream-worthy themes of Underwater, Underground, Playspace, Outerspace and Intergalactic.

Monday, March 15 | 1 PM


Learn more about the auspicious Amabie, a Japanese yōkai that was first documented in 1846 in the Higo prefecture (now known as Kumamoto), and create your own unique Amabie postcard to send to a friend or family member with a lucky message of care and good health.

In the traditional story of Amabie, a mermaid-like creature appeared as a glowing green light with three fish-like legs, scales and a beak. She was said to have passed the message to those who spotted her: “Good harvests will continue for six years, but, if disease spreads, show a picture of me to those who fall ill, and they will be cured.” This story was largely forgotten about until the 2020 pandemic, when people took to social media creating their own illustrated versions of Amabie as part of the #amabiechallenge.

This yōkai is the subject of visual artist Cindy Mochizuki’s animated film Amabie, on view in the exhibition Stories that animate us. In the animation, Mochizuki and her 78-year-old mother learn about this forgotten story and process it into today’s contexts. At this workshop, we’ll watch the animation together and learn to make our own Amabie through drawing and play.

Materials you’ll need:
  • 2 4×6’’ blank pieces of card/ thick paper
  • Sketch paper
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Painting supplies + water
  • Black marker or ink pen
  • Bright coloured chalk, pencil crayon or markers

Spring Into Art is presented by the Vancouver Art Gallery in collaboration with the Canadian Opera Company and the Art Gallery of Ontario.

The Art Gallery of Ontario and the Canadian Opera Company will present their Spring Break programs from April 12 to 16, 2021.


CART Services (Communication Access Realtime Translation) are available for Public Programs upon request. Please provide seven business days of advance notice prior to an event. We will make every effort to meet requests made outside of this window of time.

To place a request, please contact Family Programs Coordinator Christina Jones by email at cjones@vanartgallery.bc.ca or by phone at (604) 662-4700.


Cindy Mochizuki creates multi-media installation, audio fiction, performance, animation, drawings and community-engaged projects. She has exhibited, performed and screened her work in Canada, US, Australia and Japan. Recent exhibitions include the Vancouver Art Gallery, Burrard Arts Foundation, Richmond Art Gallery, Frye Art Museum and Yonago City Museum. In 2015, she received the Mayor’s Arts Award in New Media and Film from the City of Vancouver, and in 2020, she received the VIVA Award from the Jack and Doris Shadbolt Foundation for the Visual Arts. She has created community-engaged projects working primarily with seniors and youth, including Magic School (Daisen Laboratory, Japan); Things on the Shoreline (Access Artist Run Centre, 2016); and Shako Club (grunt gallery, 2015). Her illustrated children’s book Things on the Shoreline follows the metaphors of the drawing process, showing how with time and patience an empty shoreline can create the possibility for the unexpected ‘things’ to appear. cindymochizuki.com


Presenting Sponsor:
Community Partners: