Memory of Sakura, 2013
Hiroshi Senju Award
@Japan Day 2013, Central Park
Comments from Mr. Hiroshi Senju
"I see the image of confetti, falling from the sky in this work. It's just like Macy's and Yankee's parades, and this festive image evokes very happy feelings. At the same time, I feel Japanese culture is reflected in the image, in the way it references Japanese crafts and ornamental traditions. In this work, I see both culture belnding wonderfully, and I think this is an extraordinary work."
Sakura (Cherry Blossom) is the most vivid visual childhood memory of my home country, Japan.
The trees sent as a gift to Central Park bloom beautifully every year and remind me how overwhelmed I was looking up at thousands of flying petals when I was only 3 feet high. I can almost hear my family’s laughter. Spring made us happy. We were proud of our trees and the community where we lived.
Central Park’s Sakura trees signal the joy of the coming season to the New York City community much as it did for me in my childhood. I appreciate those who thought to send such a lovely gift and those who have cherished and taken good care of the trees for so many years.
My work is composed digitally from my original canvas-on-canvas collage piece. Thousands of color squares, cut and pasted by hand, represent ‘us’ people. Together we create the reality and beauty of New York City’s Sakura. A myriad of hues and tones go beyond ethnicity to reflect the full spectrum of our different feelings, circumstances and experiences. The red circle in the middle speaks to me, not only as a traditional emblem of ‘Japan’, it also communicates many related meanings, such as the recovery from the recent earthquake, our shared history and what Japan represents in the world today.
I hope Central Park’s Sakura trees keep blooming every year for all people as the symbol of friendship.