Common Humanity is a series of collage work in which Takayama explores our shared needs and desires. In a technique which juxtaposes classic images of characters from great paintings with photographs of the contemporary, she creates a new image, a collage, which speaks with a different voice. There is an appeal in this series which calls out to our own frailties and weaknesses, aspects of ourselves we do not readily admit to. Somehow, in Common Humanity, Takayama provides us with a soft landing space as we look at our vanities and find that we can smile.
Humour is an element always found in Takayama’s work for those who wish to accept that life is always a conundrum. We are challenged and we challenge ourselves, we are born, we live, we die; what is there not to laugh at? What we all share, across all cultures, are these frailties of our path towards mortality. In sugar and chocolate we may seek refuge but it is only a temporary abatement of our deepest fears. Our Common Humanity is just the feeling of safety we find within the group, the shared knowledge that we are all frightened inside. We need courage in this life and the strength to live our own authentic lives and that we all know in our own secret thoughts. Takayama’s art gives us the chance to see a world which is about more than consumerism.