In a Japanese town with a dwindling population, local resident and artist Ayano Tsukimi is keeping the spirit of her former neighbors alive by making doll versions of them. These life-sized figures of the deceased can be seen all over the little village of Nagaro, which now has a population of only 35 people. Tsukimi has hand made over 350 dolls to represent the town’s former residents in a beautiful (but also eerie) tribute to the community she loves.
Across the town of Nagoro, which is in the valleys of Shikoko, it seems people can be seen going about their regular activities. Couples garden together, or snuggle on a bench in one of the village’s picturesque fields. Others fish, tend to their farms, or even read books in schools. The town residents can be seen in photos, videos, and on Google Maps, except none of them are real.
After leaving Nagoro for 11 years, Tsukimi returned to find that most of the town had either died or moved to larger places in search of better opportunities. After building a scarecrow that represented her deceased father, the artist decided to pay tribute to the neighbors she once had, who had either passed on or passed through. In the last 10 years, Tsukimi has been busying herself with these subtle memorials, arranging her figures in scenarios that were once regular activities in the small village.
The resulting pieces are both haunting and sullen, leaving a ghost-like memory of a place that may soon be forgotten.
Via This is Colossal