My good friend Heather Willems requested me to contribute to her blog, imagethink.net . She asked me to make a painting in reflecting on a current event. The Japanese map is in response to that. Heather is one of two women behind the company Image Think, "they transform ideas into powerful visuals." It’s due out later this week. I met her in Vermont a few years ago at my residency at the Vermont Studio Center. She rules.
My map is of Japan. The earthquake & the aftershocks are breaking my heart.
In my map research I came across Fugu, the Japanese pufferfish. It is the only thing that the emperor of Japan is forbidden, by law, to eat. Eating Fugu has been practiced for centuries. It can kill you if it's not prepared correctly. It takes years of training to acquire certification to prepare Fugu. The poison, tetrodotoxin is concentrated in the liver, ovaries and skin. It is a neurotoxin, the victim remains conscious, but cannot move or speak.
In this painting Fugu represents the paralyzing affects of the tsunami on Japan. It is symbolic of Japanese culture & tradition that has existed for centuries. Fugu also represents nature, and with that, the promise that Japan will regrow with time.