Beautiful Struggle

Beautiful Struggle

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Harumo Sato

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Zukushi - Rabbit Mandala

The “Rabbit Mandala” aims to find a solution to the abundance of stuff we don’t much appreciate. Environmental concern has been rising, many wood products are seen in the market, promoting a more eco-conscious lifestyle. But, are brand new products with brand new materials really sustainable? I started questioning myself by seeing so much abandoned furniture on the street and big piles of scrap wood from a construction site to make new condos.

I called myself an Urban lumberjack, departing to seek for wood available in a forest of the mega city. There, I found abandoned couches on the street, scraps of wood pieces in a community woodshop, construction site, or a deceased loved one’s collection covered in the dust. It is a labor intensive process to get clean, square lumbers from those irregular shapes of scraps, ripping off sponge foam from an old couch or digging a dusy scrap box.

Rabbits are well known for their fast pace of reproduction cycle, the amount of rabbits I create are the reflection of our desire for the consumption and cycle of buy and throw away.

Do you welcome those reborn rabbits to your cozy place and break our spell of temptation for brand new products and praise for more process oriented work?

 

Para Para Flip Flap

“Para para Flip Flap” is my practice to accept the conflict between my cultural origin and American culture as a first generation immigrant parent in terms of literature and food habits. The definition of nationality has been blurry and this is a process to find out a new identity with my consumption, especially plastic containers.

Most of the English books we have for our child are not relevant to my childhood. Some of the words and rhymes in those children's literature are unfamiliar to my adult vocabulary. Culture is a product of generational efforts, sharing love and excitement among family is crucial. Therefore, I found it necessary to create a bridge between me and American children’s literature by using it as a background material.

Vacancy of American childhood reflects on our family diet. Gradually, but significantly more seriously after my child’ birth,I have learned the difference between organic and conventional foods and the potential effects on young bodies. Japanese society isn't yet awake enough to encourage organic farming and products like California offers. Many pesticides that the US prohibited to use to its own nation are still valid in Japan and the US is one of the biggest exporters of those strong pesticide-covered vegetables and crops. Even though we have great access to Japanese groceries in the Bay Area, I am hesitant to buy my own country’s food made in Japan and have adapted to new, more international food habits served locally.

However, even if we choose better eating habits for us, society, and Earth, we still have pills of plastic containers accumulating everyday.

 

Secure packaging makes our life more convenient, and it is almost impossible to stop using it. It is still in the process to solve as a mankind. Recycled plastic is still far from truly biodegradable, making a gooey substance in the soil. This situation, no way to accomplish “true goodness” is what our society is confronted with. Making this series was to accept and embody my nonbinary, mediocre, but resilient life.

Vessel of Life

“Vessel of life” is a series of hope I cast for the future, respecting and worshiping nature.

Historically, pots are treated as a way to store something important, like food and water. In prehistoric Japan, diverse hunter-gatherer people, called Jomon lived between 14,000-300BCE, used to make a lot of intricate dynamic unglazed clay pots. Some of their pots have faces on the surface of pots. Some even have a female face and a baby coming out from her vergina. I observed their simple, but elegant meaning of the pot: vessel of life. Mainly, Jomon people used their pots for cooking and storing food. The pots improved their digestion ability, variety of food they consumed, and reduced time for preparing meals. It was a magical tool to sustain their lives.

Nowadays, we rarely use unglazed terracotta clay pots for cooking but for gardening as a planter. It still serves as a vessel of life, storing plants which are crucial for any living creatures on the Earth. By drawing on terracotta pots, I traced Jomon mentality and hope to increase more affection toward nature including house plants.