For me, keys are symbolic of identity and freedom. Every day, each of us is opening the door of an unknown world to search for the meaning of our life. Knowing the purpose of our life is noticing the existence of keys inside ourselves. We can choose how to use our keys in our lives. Over several years, I collected discarded keys in order to make etching plates. Eventually I completed a series of 365 different etchings incorporating keys on various backgrounds.
My workshops are part of my art. Interacting with people and understanding human relationships are my main subject. In particular, the problem of the Middle East has been my concern for a long time.
Ten years ago, I met Junko Hoki in India. At that time, she was studying political science and I was teaching workshops at the Krishnamurti Foundation. We had discussions about social and political issues and what we can do about them. When she told me that some Palestinian refugees have been holding on to the keys to the houses they used to live in, in their homeland Palestine, for several decades, this project started to grow in my mind .
I will bring a show about keys to share my moments of searching for the meaning of our lives through “keys” and to open a dialogue about the meaning of “freedom” with Palestinians and Lebanese. I also will hold workshops to make family albums with Palestinians and Lebanese families at the refugee camps. I hope my workshops will provide a chance for Palestinians and Lebanese to learn more about each other.
Junko is currently living in Beirut and is coordinating this project. We started it without funding. It will be run mainly using self-paid expenses andvolunteer activity. My friend Carolyn helped me to make a fund-raising site on kickstarter.com, which raised over $2400 for the project.
I was struggling with the economic and political challenges of this project, and I had just bought my flight ticket to Beirut, when I heard about the earthquake in Japan. That news made me take this project even more seriously. I believe that this experience will help me to do something for my country, Japan, in the future. After I heard about the disaster, I participated in charity shows, where I sold my prints to raise money for Japan. I also worked even harder to achieve my fundraising goal for this current project.
These experiences made me appreciate and connect with people more than ever. I realized that I am not alone and that people are supporting each other. I would like to let people in Lebanon know that we are concerned abouttheir difficult situation. Thank you very much for your help and for being there.