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The Voice of the Unicorn

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Takako Shirawa has spent the last 36 years creating an extraordinary day centre for autistic people in Abeno, Osaka. Nestling on a quiet neighbourhood corner, Atelier Corners began life as a family run sanctuary for local autistic children and has developed into a pioneering site of artistic experiment with its members becoming renowned artists, exhibited in Japan and worldwide. Award winning artist and filmmaker Richard Butchins (himself disabled) visited the centre with disabled dancer Kazuyo Morita and spent two years documenting and creating an award winning video installation about the artists and their home.
This film shows the artists, the art and the woman that made it possible. It’s a testament to integration and the remarkable minds of the people that inhabit the building that is Atelier Corners. The film is part documentary and part artists’ moving image, a reflective and thoughtful account exploring the experience of disability in Japan, what is positive in the act of creation and the struggle against social exclusion, and how to foster and nurture the spirit of human life in a country that has traditionally excluded and hidden its disabled population from view.


Type of film
Running Time
60 mins
Richard Butchins
Richard Butchins
Partrick Knill
Executive Producer
Richard Lloyd
Melanie Quigley
Director of Photography
Richard Butchins, Roger Walch
Patrick Knill, Richard Butchins
Gemma Williams, Patrick Knill

Production status


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Last updated 17th October 2019

Production Company

Richard Butchins