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Resplendent (2001-03)
P.P.O.W. New York and Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute, Utica NY

The installation deals with the ambivalent symbolism of the cherry blossom in Japan during World War II. In the center of the floor were nine individually blown bell jars, sandblasted with the emblem of the cherry blossom, derived from the design used on some kamikaze planes. The walls of the gallery were painted with pearlescent paint, and three walls were covered with hundreds of paper cherry blossoms. In the centers of the paper cherry blossoms were faces of dead Japanese soldiers.

The cherry blossom is a symbol of beauty and the ephemerality of life (historically that of a warrior). During World War II this concept was manipulated to grant a sublime beauty to the act of falling from the sky, sacrificing one's life in the prime of youth, to safeguard the Emperor and one's country.

Room size at P.P.O.W. 20'w x 40'l x 13'h
Glass, paper, pearlescent paint, historical photographs

Research was begun during a residency funded through the Japan-United States Arts Program, Asian Cultural Council. The project was realized in part through a Creative Capital grant.

Photo credits: Lucretia Knapp, Lynne Yamamoto