Dry land, at last! Artist arrives in Tokyo after weeks stuck at sea

The artist has landed! Rebecca Moss, the British artist who was stuck on Hanjin boat after the shipping company went bankrupt, has safely disembarked in Japan. She'll meet with Tokyo-based artists before heading home to London.

Rebecca Moss 'excited' to land in Japan, 25 days after her voyage began

The artist has landed! Rebecca Moss, the artist who was stuck on board a Hanjin shipping vessel since the company declared bankruptcy, arrived in Japan over the weekend. She took this photo when her boat docked in Tokyo. (Instagram/@_rebecca.moss)

It was supposed to be 23 days at sea. Instead, it was 25.

Rebecca Moss, the British artist who was stuck off the coast of Japan since late August, has returned to dry land. She tweeted the news upon landing in Tokyo this Saturday.

Moss, a 25-year-old filmmaker and graduate student, was the latest participant in 23 Days at Sea. It's a unique residency program, one that stations an artist on an industrial freighter — taking them on an ocean voyage from Vancouver to Shanghai.

Near Japan, however, Moss's boat dropped anchor. The vessel, the Hanjin Geneva, is owned by the Hanjin Shipping Company — which went bankrupt a week into the journey.

Access Gallery released a statement about Moss's situation Saturday:

"We are happy to announce that Rebecca Moss (and her fellow passengers) disembarked in Tokyo today, after 25 days aboard the Hanjin Geneva," they write.

A portrait of the artist... eight days after Hanjin announced its bankruptcy. (Instagram/@_rebecca.moss)

The crew, however, have not finished their journey. According to an online marine tracking system, the ship is still en route to Busan, South Korea.

Per Access Gallery's statement:

"The situation of the Hanjin is complex, has caused turmoil for many and is still unfolding. We now understand that the crew of the Geneva will not be facing the loss of their jobs because they (as well as many others working Hanjin vessels) are employed by the German operators NSB Reederei."

"We are grateful to the NSB, the Captain of the Hanjin Geneva, the British Consular Service and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union for their support and communication throughout this time. Kira Simon-Kennedy, director of China Residencies, also deserves special mention for her assistance. Rebecca will spend the next few days connecting with our art community in Tokyo, before she flies back to London, UK."

Rebecca is well and extremely excited as serendipitously, there are many wonderful Vancouver-based curators and artists currently in Tokyo that she had hoped to meet while she was with us.-Kimberly Phillips, Curator/Director Access Gallery

When CBC Arts reached Moss by e-mail last week, she said she was making the most of her water-locked situation. As an artist, she's interested in exploring "the absurd."

Inspiration, obviously, was everywhere.

And luck, in its own strange way, continues to be with her. Kimberly Phillips, the Curator/Director at Access Gallery e-mailed CBC Arts this update:

"Rebecca is well and extremely excited as serendipitously, there are many wonderful Vancouver-based curators and artists currently in Tokyo that she had hoped to meet while she was with us."

We'll have to imagine that Jonathan Middleton was on that list. Moss met the Vancouver artist in Tokyo this weekend, and Instagrammed this selfie on Sunday.

Moss is declining all interviews until her return to London later this week, but the artist has been sharing snapshots from her adventure on Instagram.

Here are a few of the photos she took before disembarking.

Learn more about the 23 Days at Sea residency.


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