• Robert Zhao & Satoshi Kataoka

    The whiteness of a whale

    Text edited by Chia Hui Ting & Dr Yoshio Masui
    Conception and Project Management : Zhao Renhui, Satoshi Kataoka
    Language and Text Translation : Tom Hayashida (Japanese-English)
    Copyright 2010. The Institute of Critical Zoologists

    Purchasing a copy of The whiteness of a whale

    Edition size: 600 (50 numbered edition with limited edition print)
    Format: Soft cover
    Size: 17 x 24 cm
    Number of pages: 28
    Type of printing: Offset/ Lithography
    Type of paper: Naturalis, 157gsm
    Name of printer: ICZ Press
    Number of pictures: 16


    The title of this project is taken from an earlier work undertaken by Satoshi Kataoka to research and compile the numerous white whale sightings by The Whale People of Omishima between 1937 to 2008. The majority of the sightings were recorded after 1982.


    During a residency at Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Zhao Renhui was able to research the archives and interview the last remaining descendant of The Whale People. During the residency, he produced a series of documents and images for The Institute of Critical Zoologists discussing the political and cultural representations of this group of people.


    This project is a compilation of their research, documents and interviews, produced in collaboration with The Institute of Critical Zoologists. It offers a unique perspective into the unwritten history of The Whale People of Omishima.

    The whiteness of a whale / Robert Zhao & Satoshi Kataoka

    • Singaporean visual artist Robert Zhao Renhui (b. 1983) works chiefly with photography but often adopts a multi-disciplinary approach, presenting images together with documents and objects. Renhui’s work include textual and media analysis, video and photography projects. Recent exhibitions include the Sydney Biennale 2016, Arles Discovery Award 2015, ‘A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World’, Centre of Contemporary Photography, Melbourne (2015); ‘The Nature Collector’, ShanghART, Shanghai (2015); ‘Flies Prefer Yellow’, Kadist Art Foundation, San Francisco (2014); and ‘A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World’, Primo Marella Gallery, Milan (2014), Singapore Biennale 2013, Centre of Contemporary Photography (Melbourne) and Photoquai 2013. His work has also been awarded The Deutsche Bank Award in Photography (2011) by the University of the Arts London, The United Overseas Bank Painting of the Year Award (2009) Singapore. In 2010, he was awarded The Young Artist Award by the Singapore National Arts Council. His work has also been featured prominently in Artforum International, ArtAsiaPacific, European Photography, Pipeline, Archivo, Fotografia and Punctum.

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