Back in Tokyo to install an exhibition called 105 Chrysanthemums at the Wakayama Museum Media Art Gallery in Ginza curated by Makiko Hara. The new work considers the architecture of dreams and reinterprets a dream my paternal grandmother had a year before she passed away. The dream itself as she remembered it was much like a film, from the moment she set foot onto the veranda of our old childhood home she had witnessed a bright light and the calling of thousands of chrysanthemums. The flower itself has so many symbolic meanings in Japan however, in our Japanese Canadian household and in the garden - this flower is one that has become a beloved 'being' - ones with creaturely shag mop hair-dos, ones with long long fingers. We look forward to the fall season when several species of the chrysanthemum grow out of a mishmash of old pots and containers. Some of these flowers have re-bloomed for over 10 years. The tending and the care of this flower has been passed down 3 generations and is the basis of this new work.
This summer, working alongside Maggie Boyd, I created over 105 porcelain chrysanthemums and 12 small hands. Hands because to the flowers from the dream act as a thing that called my grandmother. Potentially a message - a sign. Whatever it may be. After repeatedly making and folding porcelain pieces into each flower after flower, petal after petal - all I could think about was this was really a field of hands maybe even one large wave. Dusted onto the flower is the dust of chlorite - a stone which attracts itself onto clear quartz to form phantom stones and each flower is wrapped with 'ends' of bunkashishu embroidery threads left behind by my grandmother. Imagining these objects from memory as talismans or objects bearing good wishes and luck, I have paired them beside the natural peach pit stones collected this summer after taking apart an old shack that was attached to this very veranda. These peach pit stones are the hearts of peaches eaten from my childhood in the summers dating back from the 1980's.
Shape-shifting memory, space and also a questioning and exploration of the architecture of homes and gardens recreated by diasporic families, 105 Chrysanthemums, explores everyday life and the representation of the objects we hold onto with great care.
The exhibition opens from September 17 - October 15 with an Artist Talk September 24th with curator Makiko Hara and special guest Naomi Sawada. Also there is a talisman making workshop September 22. If you are in the Tokyo area please check the website for more details.