The Gallery at 200 I (eye) St., SE, Washington, DC 20004
On Friday, March 22 the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities will open an exhibit of fine art to celebrate the commencement of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. This special exhibition will bring together the works of Japanese-born sculptor Yuriko Yamaguchi, painter Michi Fugita, and internationally renowned multimedia artist iona rozeal brown to form an other-worldly landscape in bloom. Alongside hand-carved wooden forms resembling seeds, nests, and organic growths, Yamaguchi’s suspended installations of tree-like structures will take shape from handmade pods attached individually to a matrix of wire. Her site-specific series of installations entitled Web/Pray will require communal participation from her audience to make hundreds of blossoming pods that will be used by the artist to build several trees of prayers written within each pod. The artist’s mother, Michi Fugita, will be honored posthumously with inclusion in the exhibit as well. Her paintings from the Four Seasons series, affirms her daughter’s sensitivity to the life cycles of nature, as each canvas holds an entire cycle of all four seasons within them. The mother-daughter confluence continues with the work of iona rozeal brown, also known as iona diamond. As a native Washingtonian, her introduction to Kabuki Theater was first made by her mother, attending performances at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. This memory was enlivened later in life as intense study of Japanese theater expanded to encompass observed cultural fusions occurring amongst Japanese youth. Influences from Hip Hop visual culture, traditional kabuki and noh theater, Ukiyo-e woodblock printing practices, and even the Vogue dance form out of the 1980s Harlem Ballroom scene helped to build a unique vocabulary to illustrate an ever-expanding mythology of young spirits born from pods, similar to Yamaguchi’s pods, to become saplings in the living world. These saplings arrive with inherent talents and strengths to contribute to the world, although villainous negative forces seem intent to disrupt the sapling’s path toward constructive production. Together, the voices of each artist will harmonize in a song rooted in the beauty of nature.