SUNSHOWER at Mori Art Museum

Jakarta Wasted Artists - Graphic Exchange

Jakarta Wasted Artists – Graphic Exchange

こんにちは (Konnichiwa)! 

Have you ever visited an art exhibition that changed your viewpoint on life? Because that’s exactly what happened to us when we viewed SUNSHOWER: Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia from the 1980s to Now at Mori Art Museum in Roppongi, Tokyo. Imagine walking through an exhibition that makes you rethink your daily routine and question why you do the things you do. Stop imagining and do your soul and self a favor, visit the SUNSHOWER exhibition if you’re in or planning to visit Tokyo. 

While planning our trip to Japan, we knew we wanted to visit the Mori Art Museum. Who could resist a museum that’s located 53 stories up high, offering arguably the greatest view in Tokyo? Luckily, we were fortunate enough to be visiting Tokyo while the SUNSHOWER exhibition was on view. We had previously read and heard only good things about Mori Art Museum, so we knew we wouldn’t be disappointed. What we didn’t know was how much an art exhibition would move and change us. 

Jompet Kuswidananto - Words and Possible Movement

Jompet Kuswidananto – Words and Possible Movement

Association of Southeast Asian Nations

SUNSHOWER was carefully curated to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a regional organization composed of 10 countries that aims to promote Southeast Asia and intergovernmental cooperation. The exhibition features artwork from artists of all 10 ASEAN countries, and is said to be one of the largest Southeast Asian contemporary art exhibitions in history. The exhibition is named after a natural phenomenon that is a common occurrence in Southeast Asia, sunshower, when rain falls from the sky despite clear conditions.

ASEAN Countries


  • Burnei

  • Cambodia

  • Indonesia

  • Laos

  • Malaysia

  • Myanmar

  • Phillippines

  • Singapore

  • Thailand

  • Vietnam


Montien Boonma - Molds for the Mind

Montien Boonma – Molds for the Mind

Montien Boonma - Molds for the Mind

Montien Boonma – Molds for the Mind


SUNSHOWER is split up into 9 different sections and is held simultaneously at two neighboring venues, the Mori Art Museum and the National Art Center, Tokyo. The exhibition has been on view since July 5th, 2017 and its last day in Tokyo is October 23rd, 2017. After Tokyo, the exhibition will be moving to Fukuoka, check out the official website for more details about its relocation. 


Days left to view SUNSHOWER in Tokyo!

Address: 53F, Mori Tower, 6-10-1 Roppongi, Minato, Tokyo 106-6150, Japan
Hours: Open 10AM – 10PM (5PM on Tuesdays)
* Last admission 30 minutes before closing. 
For more information visit JNTO.

Address: 2E, Special Exhibition Hall, 7-22-2 Roppongi, Minato, Tokyo 106-8558, Japan
Hours: Open 10AM – 6PM (9PM on Friday and Saturday), Closed Tuesdays
* Last admission 30 minutes before closing. 
For more information visit JNTO.

Albert Yonathan - Helios & Po Po

Albert Yonathan – Helios & Po Po

Albert Yonathan - Helios

Albert Yonathan – Helios

Mori Art Museum

Mori Art Museum is situated on the 53rd floor of Mori Tower in Roppongi Hills. Founded in 2003 by Mori Minoru, Mori Art Museum has already made a name for itself not only in Tokyo but worldwide. The museum prides itself in showcasing quality contemporary art and architecture, offering a space to openly discuss culture and society. Mori Art Museum is home to four sections of the SUNSHOWER exhibition: Growth and Loss, What Is Art? Why Do It?, Medium as Meditation, and Dialogue with History

Ravi and the Kris Film Studio

Ravi and the Kris Film Studio

Korakrit Arunanondchai - Painting with history in a room filled with people with funny names 3

Korakrit Arunanondchai – Painting with history in a room filled with people with funny names 3

Growth and Loss

Tith Kanitha - Hut of Angel

Tith Kanitha – Hut of Angel

The exhibition starts off with Growth and Loss, which does a fantastic job in showing the light and dark sides of rapid economic growth in Southeast Asia. Southeast Asia has seen great change post World War II with the decolonization of numerous countries in the region. Paired with immense investment and urban development, cities have greatly transformed, for better and/or worst.  

This section highlights the region’s rapid change and how these transformations often result in a loss of traditional culture and identity. What really resonated with us, as travelers, were the works of art that depicted how tourism has affected SE Asian cities and locals. Are we really taking in the culture when we travel, or are we simply there to take pictures then leave? 

Liew Kung Yu - Proposals for My Country

Liew Kung Yu – Proposals for My Country

What Is Art? Why Do It?

ruangrupa - ruruzip

ruangrupa – ruruzip

Mit Jai Inn - 2000

Mit Jai Inn – 2000

While contemporary art has become increasingly popular in Southeast Asia, that wasn’t always the case. Many artists have to justify their art not only to their family and friends, but also to the greater community. What Is Art? Why Do It? focuses more on the artist, the reasoning behind the art, and why they became artists or obstacles they’ve overcame to be artists

Artists from different backgrounds share their stories in this section, often driven by social issues or wanting change in their community. We see how artists are tackling issues not only in their own community but also globally. Some of the pieces make you rethink your priorities and realize how small your problems are compared to those across the world. 

Medium as Meditation

Sopheap Pich - Big Beng

Sopheap Pich – Big Beng

Chalood Nimsamer - Rural Sculpture

Chalood Nimsamer – Rural Sculpture

Than Sok

Than Sok

Medium as Meditation focuses on religious activities and spirituality, how artists are shaped and how they produce art based on their beliefs. This section offers a spectrum of work that reflect the artists’ beliefs at the time, or how they view others beliefs are on a particular subject matter. You are able to see how culture and traditions that are passed down often define the artists, and in return, define the artwork.

Dialogue with History 

Roslisham Ismail - anOther story

Roslisham Ismail – anOther story

Roslisham Ismail - anOther story

Roslisham Ismail – anOther story

Sometimes it’s hard to understand history without personally experiencing it yourself. Dialogue with History brings together old and new artists to create cross-generational dialogue. There are artists who experienced a certain event and use art to retell it. Then there are artists who attempt to interpret a past event through their art, though it is often paired with a different point of view from the time of the original event. 

Bang Nhut Linh - The Vacant Chair

Bang Nhut Linh – The Vacant Chair

Felix Bacolor - Stormy Weather

Felix Bacolor – Stormy Weather

The Time is Now

Mori Art Museum - Sunshower Exhibition.JPG

We hope this provided a decent summary of what to look forward to at SUNSHOWER without giving too much away. This exhibition personally resonated with us since we’re ethnically from Southeast Asia, much of the art spoke volumes to us. We honestly couldn’t recommend this exhibition enough, if you find yourself in Tokyo before October 23rd, 2017, do check out this amazing exhibition! 

We regret not having enough time to check out the National Art Center, Tokyo side of SUNSHOWER. Luckily we ended up purchasing the book so we could read up about the pieces back home! Hands down our all time favorite art exhibition.

What’s your all time favorite art exhibition?

Comment below!


JNTO Logo.png


We were invited to cover SUNSHOWER by JNTO, but as always all opinions are our own. 

ありがとうございます(Arigatou gozaimasu)!

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  1. Sounds like it’s an in depth cultural study as much as an art exhibition. I hope it travels beyond Southeast Asia to reach a wider audience.

  2. I’ll be honest, I’m not really into contemporary art. However, I’ve been trying to sort of broaden my art horizons and this was honestly super interesting to read about. I like how it’s simultaneously held in two different locations, and really, all the cultural study in the exhibitions sound amazing. I may have to check this out if it’s still around next time I’m in Tokyo!

  3. Sounds like you guys had quite the powerful experience! Contemporary art isn’t usually my thing, but I can see how you could get wrapped up in something that enormous. I know nothing about art in Southeast Asia, sounds like a great way to expand your horizons!

  4. I think my life-changing exhibition was the one at the War Museum in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. I must admit I did not know many things that happened during that war and I was shocked to discover how much humanity can hurt humanity. Anyhow, this contemporary art show looks amazing and I’m glad it had such a powerful impact on you.

  5. What an awesome museum, I love your video. I felt like I was there walking around with you and the music was so relaxing! This sounds like quite the powerful journey you guys had!

  6. This is an awesome idea for a museum. I love that it features art from so many South East Asian countries. It’s interesting how art can reflect the ethos of the artist as well as his/her country of origin. Wish I could visit!

  7. I would really love to visit Mori Art Museum. They have depicted evolution of culture in many creative ways which I liked most about this museum. I liked the part how rapid change has effected the loss of culture and tradition. Also Medium as Meditation is the best part to know how spirituality can be depicted in art form. As an artist this is the most interesting part of Tokyo to be visited by me.

  8. I’m not a huge art lover and some of it can be lost on me but this museum certainly peaks my interest – and not just for the views! I’ll add this to my list when I eventually start planning a trip to Japan 🙂

  9. I love Japan and have been there multiple times…but haven’t ever visited Tokyo’s art museums. Now I want to! Your photos are excellent.

  10. This museum is a dream destination for me who loves to explore museums. I love the unique and contemporary art on display. I need to take note of this for when I visit Japan.

  11. Those are some unique displays. The Medium as Meditation caught me with its simple but thought-provoking exhibits. The dialog with history too was interesting. I bet it was fun exploring this.

  12. This is such a nice initiative. Events like these help strengthen ties between regional allies. I haven’t experienced sunshower. Seems like an intriguing phenomenon. Exhibitions like this are so enriching.

  13. This is such a nice initiative. Events like these help strengthen ties between regional allies. I haven’t experienced sunshower. Seems like an intriguing phenomenon. Exhibitions like this are so enriching.

  14. Wow! That’s a pretty bold statement that the art exhibit changed your life. It must have been pretty phenomenal. Glad that it had such a profound impcat on you. I enjoy art, but prefer to explore and look at the buildings more than what’s inside them.

  15. We absolutely love this and would love to see it! We like art a lot as well so this would be well spent time. By the way we love your photography, our favourite photo of the museum must be the one below Growth and loss.

  16. We’ve wanted to check out the Mori Art Museum for a while. The Sunshower exhibit sounds very cool. We’ve been travelling around southeast Asia for the last 2 years. We’d love to see a big collect of works from all 10 nations. Hope we can catch it before it’s gone.

  17. Mori Art Museum does look very vibrant with art. And the way it has been setup, to me it looks more like a cool cafe kind of than a museum. I would definitely love to visit here when I am around. I am a painter and a lover of art in all forms.

  18. Art is an expression of not only the imagination of the artist. It is in so many ways a mirror to the times, aspirations as well as angst of the time that we live in. The contemporary art in the Mori art Museum is really fascinating. and looks so futuristic too.

  19. It looks like an amazing exhibit. Your photos are stunning! I love that you also get a great view from the museum as well. I’ll definitely have to check it out.

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