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Edition of 6
Shio, the Japanese word for ‘tide’ is very important for people living on the islands in South Western Japan. It refers not only to high and low tides but also to the currents running between the islands that decide the favorability of sea travel between them. If the shio is not right it will be difficult to manoeuver across the seas. In this film the horses of Yonaguni island, the most South Western island of Japan, are seen ambling freely as they live independently on this small volcanic island, where some 120 of them still remain. The island has had a turbulent past and is a political pawn since the placing of a radar tower and military base in 2016. As the human population keeps declining, the horses, unable to leave the island, seem to defiantly roam their habitat along the steep rugged coastlines. Using the elements of nature, a young girl and her horse might find a way to conquer the shio.
The notion that the state of humanity can be read and studied by the way we relate to animals is a vital thread in Dumas work. Her choice of subject relates directly to the way we use, co-exist with, and define specific animals, assigning various symbolisms to them as well as our own personal reflections. It is her belief that the disappearance of the actual presence of animals, as given in our society, greatly affects how we experience life and, for example, our ability to be empathetic with one another.
Dumas has been observing different animals, mostly horses and dogs, within specific positions for over a decade. She is particularly interested in the complexity of how we define value when it comes to animals as well as how we attribute value to ourselves and others. The context of her subjects is what defines each subject.