My desire to create art comes from my search for the meaning of our existence. I use my artwork as a key to understand others and myself. The most precious thing in my life is the growth process. Art is my guide and mentor....

Sunday, April 3, 2022

A New Beginning


Cherry blossoms are blooming and green is returning. Around this time last year, I got COVID-19, took a rest at home, and recovered without any medicine. After waking up from a long sleep, the first place I visited was Morningside Park.I saw the Statue of Liberty, laying down with her eyes closed, and met Zaq Landsberg, who created the artwork titled "Reclining Liberty”.



Inspired by "Reclining Liberty", which seemed to represent current situations in New York City, I wanted to know what New Yorkers think of this statue. I learned that this statue would be removed on 4/22/22. I started thinking about what I could do, and told other artists about “Reclining Liberty”. The idea I had a year ago is now bearing fruit. 16 performers, neighbors, friends, and local organizations interested in "Reclining Liberty"gathered. Something new has begun.



Reclining Liberty Project

Saturday, April 9 from 1 PM to 5 PM in Morningside Park @ West 120th St and Morningside Avenue.


With gratitude for the impact of Zaq's work over the past year, artists influenced by his work will come together, and exercise their freedom, to present their individual and collective responses to "Reclining Liberty”. The COVID-19 pandemic were in place, and parks became the only place of relaxation that everyone could enjoy equally. Freedom lives in the parks!  Let’s have a wonderful time on this beautiful Spring afternoon, interacting and confirming each other’s collective freedom with music, dance, drama, and poetry


Facebook: Reclining Liberty Project.



“Women in the Heights Up Close and Personal”

Curated by Andrea Arroyo

March 17 – May 15, 2022

Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance

Gallery Space at 4140 Broadway, New York, NY 10033

between 175th St. and 176th St.

(212) 567-439



Artist Talk: April 5th, 5:30-7:30 pm 

I will talk about the relationship between the medicine ball and my family. Based on my story “Overcoming”, I will perform on Saturday April 9th in Morningside Park in front of “Reclining Liberty” 


Vimeo: Overcoming



Memory + Healing + Sustainability: 

West Harlem Arts 2nd Annual Exhibition

April 21– July 16, 2022

Opening: Saturday April 23

Hours Saturday +Sunday 12 -6pm

During weekdays Please RSVP childrensartcarnival@gmail.com

Children's Art Carnival

62 Hamilton Terrace, New York, NY 10031

Centro Civico Cultural Dominicano 

619 W 145th St, New York, NY 10031 


Kusudama (Medicine Balls): Wishes For Our Future

Medicine balls, called kusudama, made from Japanese paper, by participants of "Peace and Harmony" origami workshops. Thank you very much to all participants, hosts, and City Artist Corps Grants! 


Peace and Harmony: Japanese Paper Workshops

Collaborative work 


Children's Art Carnival 

Centro Civico Cultural Dominicano 

Tenants Association 610 West 145th St.

Manhattanville Community Center

Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop
First Quincy Street Community Garden



With Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Creative Learning Grant support, I’ll continue Peace and Harmony Workshops, and hold a Wish Exhibition at the Manhattanville Community Center this summer. Please write your wish for our future on a Wish Strip with map image during the Memory + Healing + Sustainability Exhibition. I’ll hang these at Manhattanville Community Center’s Wish Exhibition.


In our unstable world of war, pollution, nuclear threats, and the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to create harmony and peace, and to respect individual freedom.

Monday, January 3, 2022

Turning Point

 

New Year’s Day in New York City was rainy. However, a photo of my friend's New Year's Day sunrise reminded me that another part of the world is sunny. I learned that what I see in front of me, is not always true.


Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, I’ve been feeling the importance of freedom, health, and peace more than ever. Because of the pandemic it was difficult to return to Japan. My father was hospitalized 7 months ago and died on December 19, 2021 at 3:20 AM, Japan time. He was 82 years and three months old. I would like to share my experiences and feelings.



On December 18th, my sister from Japan video called me in New York. This allowed me to be with my father and our family in my father’s last hours alive. My sister brought her cell phone closer to our father's face so he could hear my voice. I could see his facial expressions and reactions up close. I thanked my father. Even though we were apart, my heart has always been with my father. 


The day after my father died was my mother's birthday. He was finally able to go back home. The smile on his face as he lay dead in his house, and in the funeral home, healed our whole family. From the time when life and death intersected, I felt my father was watching over us at the soul level. His presence made us closer than ever. Since my father was diagnosed with dementia 12 years ago, each family member has learned a lot from him.



I was in conflict with my father because of differences in our values. I moved to New York City in 1994 to live freely in my own way. Some of the reasons I was able to survive in New York without relying on my parents, was that I wanted to prove my freedom, independence, and responsibility to my father. 



In 2010, I held my first solo exhibition in Japan entitled Transformation: Question to Myself. My relationship with my father began to improve gradually when my father came to see my artworks. At that time, my father developed dementia and retired from work. I was worried about my father's illness and returned to Japan every year until 2019, before the pandemic began. The days I spent with my father helped us heal each other and smooth out our differences. I learned about myself from my father and was able to make precious memories with him.



Family relationships can be deep and loving. Parents tend to expect children to do what parents think is good. Due to differences in generations and values, one's happiness may not be the other's happiness. Parents and children are unique persons with different constitutions and personalities. During my relationship with my father, we learned to respect each other with love, which was greater than our differences. The growth of our individual souls through mutual understanding was a key lesson I learned for my changing future.



The morning my father was hospitalized, I talked with him on a video call. My father's words of compassion for our family were so clear that I couldn't believe he had dementia. It seemed to me that he knew everything that was likely to happen to him, and he told me his wishes. Instinctively thinking that I might not be able to see my father anymore, I thanked him for bringing me into the world with my mother. I apologized for not being with him. My father's last words to me that day were "Please remember me”. After being hospitalized, he eventually couldn't speak, walk, or eat.



My father was in and out of 3 different hospitals and one group home since May 2021. At the first hospital, our family couldn't see him for almost 3 months because of the Covid-19 pandemic. When he stopped eating and his condition was in danger, my mother and sister were allowed to visit him for a few minutes. He started eating again and managed to leave the hospital. However, he was thin, couldn’t walk, needed a wheelchair, and couldn't speak. After that, the days when he couldn't meet his family continued, and his health rapidly declined. All I can do now is find out what my father experienced, and what he was trying to convey for the past seven months. 



A Kusudama medicine ball I made for my father and those suffering from illness, is on display at the Arsenal Gallery titled “39th annual wreath interpretations exhibition in Central Park through January 6th, 2022. 


At this summer's Kusudama making workshops, I met people who were as sick as my father, who were going to be operated on, and many who were worried about the Covid-19 pandemic. Workshop participants and I were healed by connecting over our common wishes for "health and peace”. My father, who continues to inspire me, was a mentor my entire life.



Now I am standing at a turning point in my life. While looking back on what I've done so far, I question myself again, and start something new. The colder the Winter, the more vital the Spring and the dramatic return of new buds. It's time to learn from the pandemic, review our society and our way of life, and regain confidence in our health for the future we want.


Friday, November 12, 2021

Peace and Harmony Project Report , Autumn News


Autumn has arrived and is progressing. It’s a beautiful, colorful season. At the same time, the fallen leaves signal that the end of the year approaches. 

With the support of a City Artist Corps Grant, I presented several Peace & Harmony Japanese paper workshops from July through October. Using Japanese paper, dyed by participants, 30 paper cranes, and 5 medicine balls, that consist of 30 origami flowers each, were completed in collaboration with several groups of participants.

Kusudama (medicine balls), were made by people of different races, ages, genders, personalities, and ways of thinking, with the common desire for health, long life, and peace. The flowers were folded out of hand-dyed Japanese paper of many patterns and colors, were tied with threads, and became harmonious and beautiful works that symbolize our hopes.                    

                                               


Through this project, I was able to meet many people and communities. The conversations during our workshops brought us together. We learned about current events we are dealing with from various angles.

Many participants said that origami was therapeutic. Origami can be used to improve patience and concentration, as well as to prevent dementia and stress. The smiles of the participants as they completed their works, became a driving force for me. Thank you very much to the host organizations, the participants, and NY Foundation for the Arts which provided a City Artist Corps Grant. Fueled by these positive experiences, I will continue my Peace & Harmony Project.

 

Looking back, since I started working with Japanese paper in the United States 20 years ago, I have wanted to share and spread the Japanese culture that values harmony. Mr. Matsuda, a Japanese-American artist who I met through peace activities, arranged to have me teach workshops at this year’s Japan Festival in Boston on December 4th and 5th. 


 

Peace and Harmony Workshops are planned to be held between January 22nd and February 12th at Children's Art Carnival in New York City. Coincidentally, about 25 years ago, Robert Blackburn introduced me to Betty Blayton Taylor, the founder of the Children's Art Carnival. Robert Blackburn was the founder of the Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop. The first organization to collaborate on my Peace and Harmony project was the Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop. I felt that the legacy of the two founders have been passed down us. The circle of peace has been expanding. I update the details once the dates and times are decided.I look forward to your participation.


When I made my first Kusudama as a sample for the workshop, my memories of Japanese paper were all connected and became one shape. The process of transforming plain Japanese paper into colorful dyed Japanese paper, and then into flower origami, and finally into a medicine ball, made a strong impression on me. One of the purposes of these workshops was to see and feel these transformational changes now. 


This first Kusudama will be shown at the 39th Annual Wreath Interpretations Exhibition at the Arsenal Gallery in Central Park, from Wednesday December 1, 2021 – Thursday January 6, 2022. 




"Extraction: Art on the Edge of the Abyss” Exhibition

Curators are Robin Dintiman, Holly Downing, and Catherine Devriese

Sebastopol Center for the Arts

October 23 through November 28, 2021

Saturday 10/23  1-3pm
Opening reception
Sunday 11/7  6pm
Rush Rheem of Stanford showing his film on “From Sopocles to Rachel Carson and beyond.”
Thursday 11/18  6:30-8pm
Native American drum and song group, poetry reading, Linda Lucille Day, David Holt, as well as several other panelists.


The exhibition is dealing with various environmental issues.  My work is on the theme of nuclear issues in Japan and the United States.


One of my goals is to hold exhibitions and festivals on environmental issues in New York City. I value the connections built in the workshops, and want to learn more about my local areas, in order to create healthier and safer communities with my neighbors.