I am honored to be part of an an exhibit at SomArts in San Francisco, presented by APICC (the Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center). The show runs for one more week and closes on May 29.
Re-Claim presents the work of Mark Baugh-Sasaki, Kathy Fujii-Oka, Su-Chen Hung, Christina Mazza, Judy Shintani and Truong Tran in a critical investigation into the discarded objects of the everyday or what gets left behind and the redemptive process that renders an object “fundamentally new.” How does detritus reveal the imprint of its locality and the residue of human lives? This exhibition locates the self in poetic, imaginary as well as ecological modes and gives voice to moments personal and historical by re-framing the present. In a time of frugality and perceived scarcity- the impetus that nothing shall be discarded also includes stories, history, memory and ultimately, our deep interconnections. All of the artists are creating new pieces for the exhibit.
In my installation, I honor my father and his life; Takuma Fujii, a nurseryman and the founder and owner of Asahi Nursery in Richmond, California. He is eighty-two years old now and retired, but he left behind a legacy that was part of our family for many years. Yet I wanted to tell this story of my dad and his life because of the love and admiration I have for him. Since childhood, I saw my dad and the nursery as one and he and the nursery became the rock of my being, my foundation. It is where I learned lessons of life amidst the beautiful flowers that were born and nurtured there.
What sparked the idea to create this installation was an event that took place back in February of this year. My father had major surgery and subsequently experienced some complications and my family and I were concerned for his life.I began to make weekly visits to my parent’s home after the surgery in an attempt to help my dad heal by giving him Reiki, which is a Japanese form of transferring healing energy. Their home sits on a property where the nursery once resided and each week I would pass by peering out my window and witness the remains of his business, feeling a touch of sorrow within.
The thought of losing my father combined with the loss of the nursery was a bit much to bear. It wasn’t long after, that I realized I had been guided down this path through spirit to honor my father and all that he stood for. My work is spiritual in nature and I feel that I was called upon at that moment to present this story.
Since this project began, I embarked on a new journey, a soulful expedition in time and family history. My objects record the past, what once was; encrusted surfaces, unearthing fragments of the day to day and collecting and rummaging through the debris. The found artifacts that were recovered suddenly became highly prized and of extreme significance to me. The beautiful flowers replaced by dirt and rubble, they became symbols for my life as they revealed untold stories.
Once all the artifacts were collected and safely brought home, my husband, Preston and I stored them in our garage. I knew that I wanted to tell my story through these objects, but everything was in large piles and scraps. I needed to create some sense of order out of all of the chaos that was recovered and felt quite overwhelmed by it all. But once I began creating artworks, the ideas began to flow.
I also feel fortunate to have had the support of my dear friend and mentor, Ester Hernandez and my husband, Preston for guidance. From the point of conception, Ester and I discussed this endeavor and she supported and guided me through the process. In addition, my husband, Preston assisted me in gathering and transporting the artifacts, as well as installing them here at the gallery using his creative woodworking skills. I am deeply grateful for all their support.
This installation is an homage to my father and the memories of his nursery are revisited. I offer this special gift of remembrance through my art while he is still on this earth. At times the process I went through felt enormous, emotional and spiritual, but most importantly, it was exciting and I am so glad I did it.