Karakasa Obake

Karakasa Obake installation is the winner of the 3rd Annual Design Competition for Powell Street Festival Society. The submission was created by Simon Fraser University art students: Jana Ghimire, Phoebe Huang, Haylee Marx, Elisha Wang, and Carmen Wong.  The team has been awarded a $1000 prize, a production budget, and mentorship from Revery Architecture and Abaton Projects. 


The Karakasa Obake installation is an oversized Japanese umbrella that takes the form of a trickster spirit with one eye and one foot. The concept incorporates tsukumogami, a word used to describe objects and tools that develop spirits after being used for hundreds of years; and the practice of using recycled materials during the internment of Japanese Canadians to create wagasa, traditional paper folding. 

The jury stated, “We value the humorous aspect of this proposal. The concept also spans time, reaching back hundreds of years and referencing both Japanese Canadian internment and contemporary anime and gaming culture.” 

The Design Competition for Powell Street Festival is a partnership between PSFS, Revery Architecture and Abaton Projects and is financially supported by Hapa Collaborative, PFS Studio, Entuitive and Revery Architecture, as well as several private donors. The jury included landscape architect Hanako Amaya of Hapa Collaborative, Tania Williard, an indigenous curator and artist from the Secwepemc nation; PSFS artistic director Leanne Dunic, Shinobu Homma of Revery Architecture, and Gary Smith of Abaton Projects. 

The design is now in development and will be unveiled at the Opening Ceremony of the 42nd annual Powell Street Festival in Oppenheimer Park at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, August 4, 2018. Follow @powellstfest on social media and posts tagged #powellstfest #karakasa to see the production process.