Solo exhibition by Yuri Shimojo
March 11 – March 17th, 2013 at Honen-in Temple, Kyoto 京都 法然院
March 11 – March 30th, 2014 at Gallery ef Tokyo 浅草
Memento mori is translated from Latin as "remember your mortality."
Soon after March 11, 2011, as I heard the news that Sakura started to blossom in the midst of debris in Tohoku where the great Earthquake and Tsunami devastated, I was awed by the power of nature. I still could not find the way of output my feelings through art that time but then I was finally able to start painting each petals one by one.
As a Japanese artist, I felt it may be a cliché to paint cherry blossoms, but the simple repetitive act to express each petal healed me deeply and recalled monks counting each prayer bead. By the time I stopped counting how many petals I painted, I started to see each petal as each life, each woman's soul, whose spirit had ascended from their physical being leaving loved ones behind. Prayers and meditation for repose, honor and heal women's heart. I conversed with each. I became them. It helped me as I was experiencing my personal transition.
In Buddhism, a phrase "諸行無常 Shogyo Mujo" can be translated "all things are transient and impermanent.” This universal idea expressing temporal relationship with nature is can be found in daily aesthetics and spirituality in Japan. “May be we all humans are practicing for ‘Live in the moment.’”
I often think of death. Death of life, death of relationship... Since I was child, I experienced my families’ and loved one's death a number of occasions. Although when I think of death, this ultimate mystery always comes with the meanings of life. The death has been always the beginning, the life force and cleanse. Circle of life became a fundamental theme of my art.
Memento Mori, a series of five 38” x 52” watercolors,
described by the artist as a “personal requiem and inevitable celebration for honor of life”.