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.

Image Description: In “Pink and Yellow Still-life with Cherished Items,” Homma paints a still-life of various objects. In the very most center of the painting sits a small pale pink silk bag with dark purple drawstrings. The bag is decorated with gold, white and pale blue designs woven into the fabric depicting waving lines and flying birds. To its right is a piece of coral coloured fabric folded atop a golden wallet. To the left of the silk bag is a little bright yellow paper box. The box has the words “Cherry Blossom” written across it as well as an illustration of two cherries. At the very most edge of the left side of the canvas is a power outlet. The placement of the items creates a triangular composition pointing upwards, referencing a mountain landscape. The reflection atop the brown, smooth wooden surface emulates water. The wooden surface the items sit upon take up almost half the canvas itself. The background is a blank wall of a similar pale pink to that of the silk bag.
In loving memory of Grandma Homma, whose favourite colour was also pink.

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