Saturday, March 7, 2009

Fonda Yoshimoto

Fonda Yoshimoto

MFA Ceramics

Sakura Sew

Sakura Sew is a revisitation of my experience as a caretaker for my mother. Care-taking, a traditionally female activity, involves bathing, listening, bandaging, waiting, brushing, stitching, watching, cleaning, repetition. As a continuation of the activity, no longer necessary, I make each cherry blossom through a ritualistic process in which the lifeline on my palms are imprinted into the fragile porcelain. Cherry blossoms represent the ephemeral and transient nature of life, blooming quickly and just as quickly falling to the ground, a life cut short. I sew the blossoms together in a futile attempt to suspend them in time. They become a reflective surface for memory, questions, and fears.

Artist Statement

Humans are simultaneously strong and fragile, simple and complex, passive victims and active creators of society. The individual’s struggle to come to terms with society and nature is a recurrent theme throughout my work. I am interested in finding the moments where private and public life intersect, where the lines become blurred. My work also centers around the attempt to control and the inevitable loss of control over expressions of emotions and is greatly inspired by the sociological theory of emotion work and emotion labor. Individuals who are required to control their feelings do so at a price. In order to keep up an appropriate fa├žade the individual must learn to suppress and as a result their emotions manifest in different areas of their lives, in different ways of behaving. Emotions and the senses are often distorted and discounted. I aim to encourage the viewer to rethink conventional perceptions and assumptions about their own feelings, senses, and society.

My work also deals with illness. Illness is frequently hidden from the public sphere of society, much like emotions it is seen as a sign of weakness. My mother was diagnosed with cancer. Her daily routines were altered by illness: the bowls she used for bathing, her bandage changes, the hole she cut on the left-hand side of her shirt for comfort. She yearned to share her experience with others, to reach out to others, while simultaneously fearing the judgments and discrimination many individuals with disabilities face. My mother’s life was increasingly altered by her condition, as pictures and items became nostalgic objects to hold onto, as we spent hours waiting and focusing on one object while everything else blurred. Her ability to share her strength, weakness, thoughts and feelings are what drives me to keep creating. My work is highly personal, deeply painful, and undeniably feminine. 

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