Pink and Yellow Still-life
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In Pink and Yellow Still-life with Cherished Items, I constructed a still-life using a selection of items accumulated over my lifetime. Items like the central silk bag and the hand-made golden wallet to the right of the bag were given to me by my paternal relatives on trips to visit them in Vancouver when I was little or sent to me in care packages. The coral cloth atop the wallet was scrap left over from a quilt I recently made for one of my great-aunties. When trying to understand myself as a Japanese/East-Asian/mixed-race woman, I often think of my grandma and my aunties. I think about their experiences in Canada and the things they did that I have always admired with wonder, like quilting, making clothes, crocheting, and baking. They always did these things for me and tried to teach me how to do them as well and that sharing of knowledge always felt like an ultimate expression of love. I take pride in doing these same things that they did to better understand who they were and to make them proud while simultaneously feeling closer to them and to who I am. In this still-life as well as many of my other still-lifes, I make reference to “Japonisme” painting of the mid to late 19th century in an effort to reinsert myself into the history in a way that gives myself agency while also being able to properly respect these treasured items of my family. In this particular painting, I also took inspiration from Edo period landscapes of mountainous terrain and bodies of water. The “Cherry Blossom” chocolate is one of my mother’s favorite treats and is a famously Canadian confectionary. Cherry blossoms or “sakura” is a beloved pink flower in Japan, which beautifully blooms on trees in the spring annually. When seeing the chocolate box I cannot help but think about my existence as a mixed-race woman.
In loving memory of Grandma Homma, whose favourite colour was also pink.
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