The Room of Waves by Laura Nickel featuring the poetry of Yuko Taniguchi
About the Exhibition:
This event resulted from the research by Yuko Taniguchi, a poet for her project, While the earth moves its spine, documenting the experiences of the people of Tohoku. In addition to witnessing the damage and changes in the landscape, she discovered the heartwarming efforts and artistic activities dedicated to recovery. One of the common threads she witnessed was the role of art. Creating artwork that is structured, repetitive and simple with a concrete goal helped release the Tohoku residents’ minds of the overwhelming grief and shock. The artistic work also brought the community together. These two elements, artistic attention and community engagement, are two concepts that this exhibition highlighted.
The exhibition featured Sashiko works created by the Senninbari Project (meaning “Thousand Person Stitches”) in Miyagi prefecture. Sendai kimono maker, Tsuyo Onodera, and her daughter and a Sonoma based floral artist, Maki Aizawa, funded this organization Shortly after the tsunami in March 2011. They reached out to the residents who lost everything during the disaster in Kesenuma. Onodera, who has taught Kimono making for over fifty years and has trained hundreds of young women, taught Sashiko stitching and Kogin embroidery to the women at the shelter in Kesenuma. These women worked collaboratively to create traditional Tohoku designs and clothes. The exhibition featured these works, including Dotera (Sleeping Kimono) and Kamiko (paper Kimono).
The exhibition also featured the journey of Otsuchi Sashiko Project in Iwate prefecture. Otsuchi-cho is one of the coastal towns that experienced the worst devastation from the tsunami and earthquake, losing about 10% of the population. The work of Sashiko began as an activity to pass the time while waiting in the evacuation center. Later, Sashiko became a central tool of recovery for women, in particular, by turning the work into a small company that provided and continues to provide jobs.