3-11-11 TWO YEARS LATER
I traveled to Japan March 11, 2011 and became part of one of the worst national disasters in the history of Japan. Returning March 2013 to Sendai an area of Japan I had never been, but felt an allegiance to the people who had experienced such devastation.
I knew that coming to Sendai on the second anniversary of The Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami to dedicate my three bronzes to the people of Japan, specifically Sendai, one of the coastal towns destroyed by the tsunami, would be an emotional experience.
The people opened their homes, hearts, and generosity to us during our five days in Sendai. The Japanese people are both gracious and kind. As an artist, I came away with an admiration and great respect for the people; their sense of order, beauty, and love of nature.
We traveled to the beach where the tsunami made its way upon the shores; where nothing in its path remains standing, except a single home owned by Shinichi & Tsuruko Kato. They graciously invited us into their home for lunch, and showed pictures of the area before and after March 11, 2011. Their home nearly destroyed, Mr. Kato exemplifies my sculpture “Fukkou”, the third in the series, signifying the resurgence of the people while resurrecting their lives and their city; to return to a balanced peace, harmony and tranquility.
The Japanese expressed their acceptance of my sculptures through smiles, cries and photographs. Stories of people journeying to view the artwork and upon seeing the pieces emotionally breaking down, but coming away knowing the story needs to be told, and remembered.
The sculptures are meant to be a physical reminder to future generations of the devastation that day, while symbolizing the ability of a people to move forward, while never forgetting.
As an artist, I came away with a strong emotional tie to the event and the people. The act of creating is an emotional release; it centers one, giving an inner peace which allows us to reflect not only on who we are but how we think and feel. I realize now, that the pride of being an artist comes not from what one sells, but the inner peace one derives from the act of creating and the emotional response of the viewer.