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Contemporary Art Practice (MA)

Megumi Ohata

Megumi Ohata is a London-based interdisciplinary artist and special effects makeup artist (SFX MUA) who is of primarily Japanese heritage, with a mixed Korean background. They are renowned for their innovative works marked by the use of SFX techniques and unique artificial skin fabrics imprinted with their own skin textures. This inventive approach has been well-received by collaborators and creatives globally, fostering opportunities in cities such as Tokyo and London.

Ohata achieved a First Class Honours Degree in BA (Hons) Illustration at the Camberwell College of Art, University of the Arts London, in 2019. They later received a Graduate Diploma in Art & Design (Fine Art) from the Royal College of Art in 2021.

Among their notable achievements, Ohata was a runner-up for the Batsford Prize 2019 in the fashion category and delivered an artist talk Reimagining Human Body at the Tate Modern in 2023. In 2022, they were awarded The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation Arts & Culture grant for their upcoming 2023 show in Hiroshima, as part of an artist collective.

As an expatriate Japanese artist with mixed Korean heritage, Ohata is deeply committed to promoting unique cross-cultural exchanges through their art. They regularly collaborate with artists from various nationalities and organise projects that test and expand the boundaries of artistic expression.

Ohata wearing their previous artwork, 'Skin Garments', created in 2019

Ohata's practice is deeply intertwined with explorations of gender, identity, and Posthuman philosophy. Their work addresses personal traumas - from the impacts of child abuse to the discrimination they have faced due to their Asian heritage. In Ohata's journey towards resolving these traumatic experiences, they question the role of artists in breaking free from society's negative cycle, and how they can challenge societal norms and expectations.

Using SFX techniques, they create sculptural installations and wearable art that mimic human bodies in an unsettling and peculiar manner. This reflects their fascination with the body as well as their response to the absurd and often incomprehensible habits of human beings. Ohata's work poses the question: What does a body need to be relatable?

Their artistic process is a reflective one, mirroring the act of extracting parts from their own body, both physically and mentally, and gradually transforming them into a work of art. By dissociating their "skins" and "bodies," Ohata ventures into a process of self-reflection and examination, delving into how past experiences have shaped their identity and how they can proactively reshape it.

Ohata perceives their art as an extension of their own body, a means to blur boundaries beyond their skin and to seek the non-human form within. They strive to transform their past into a narrative with hope. Their art is a platform where past traumas are acknowledged and transcended, creating a space where understanding and empathy can flourish.

Photographed by Bart Seng Wen Long

Ohata and their latest piece of work in their studio space


Ohata is currently working on a hyper-realistic, life-sized sculpture. This piece is a fusion of human and non-human elements, encapsulating the artist's personal trauma. Drawing inspiration from Posthuman philosophy, they challenge the inadequacies of humanism and advocate liberation from patriarchal ideologies. Imbued with Japanese folklore (Yōkai) and its aesthetics, the faceless figure—inspired by Noppera-bō—veils its identity, simultaneously revealing elements of both animal and human transformation.

Year: 2023

Medium: Silicone, foam, resin, pigment

Size: 50 x 180 x 110 cm / 20 x 70 x 43 in

Supported by Bentley Advanced Materials

*Please note that these images are works in progress. We would be honoured to have you join us at the graduation exhibition at Truman Brewery, where you can fully experience the completed work from Ohata.

A Japanese kimono jacket uniquely crafted from the artificial human skin fabric with the artist's own skin imprinted, on display
A Japanese kimono jacket crafted from the artificial human skin fabric with the artist's own skin imprinted, on display
A Japanese kimono jacket "Haori" made out of artificial human skin with the artist's skin imprinted is displayed.
A Japanese kimono jacket "Haori" made out of artificial human skin with the artist's skin imprinted is displayed.
Ohata in their studio with their art piece "Haori"


In 2021, Ohata developed a technique for creating one-of-a-kind artificial skin textiles, imprinted with the artist’s own skin textures. This innovation took form in the kimono jacket, Haori, constructed from this unique faux skin.

The underlying principle of Ohata's practice emphasises the belief that their pieces are not merely artefacts for aesthetic appreciation, but are also intended as wearable items inviting interaction. The process of creating these pieces encapsulates a journey of self-acceptance and an embracement of individual skin, aiming to evoke a sense of warmth and familiarity.

Year: 2021-

Medium: Silicone, pigment, thread

Size: 143 x 103 cm / 56 x 40 in

An abstract painting made of ink, paint, silicone, pigment, and human hair on canvas, displayed on a concrete wall

Inner Child

Their inner child, a collection of memories and emotions from a traumatic childhood, is encased within their skin. It grows within them like roots, merges into their flesh akin to veins, provokes pain similar to thorns, and confines them as a barbed wire would.

This painting is a manifestation of Ohata’s past experiences with child abuse, delving into the exploration of psychological theories revolving around the concept of the inner child.

The surface texture of the artwork is imprinted with the artist's actual skin, with their own hair implanted.

Year: 2022

Medium: Ink, paint, silicone, pigment and human hair on canvas

Size: 23 x 30.5 cm / 9 x 12 in

Bentley Advanced Materials