Yuuki Flower is a textile sculpture created by Happy Sleepy for the Field Trip Project that toured Japan from August 2012 to January 2014, in locations affected by the 2011 tsunami. The project also exhibited in galleries and the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo.
Read our blog posts about the different venues of the traveling exhibition.
Field Trip Project Context
Please visit the official website for the Field Trip Project for more information.
When the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake devastated North Eastern Tohoku, Japan, in March 2011, there was a movement of relief efforts from all over the world as well as in Japan. At the start of the academic year in Japan, large amounts of relief supplies that were not needed were still filling up entire gymnasiums in local schools. All donations were to be moved or discarded before the new academic year.
Amongst the supplies to be disposed of were many used Japanese school backpacks, as the government had donated new ones. The project curator, Daisuke Takeya, managed to have them donated for an alternative use, the FIELD TRIP Project in which artists are commisioned to transform 30 backpacks into works of art.
The exhibition traveled throughout the disaster areas in Japan and was displayed in various locations from 2012 to 2014. The project is realized by two not for profit organizations, DAICHI Projects and Onagawa High School Students’ Cafe.
Message to Japan
The project organizers had asked the artists to include a message to the people of Japan along with their artwork:
As we made this artwork we let our hearts break with grief and swell with promise, observing that sadness is a big step beyond anger towards a peaceful place. It takes real courage to be cheerful sometimes, to imagine a future and do all the work to build it, again and again, every day.
When we make art it feels therapeutic, because, similar to meditation, it requires lots of attention, lots of skillful practice, and, ultimately, letting go and getting lost in making results in the best effect. Making an idea into an object or experience in the real world requires bravery and creates confidence, so we made the Yuuki Flower so that other people can also have the experience of making, the satisfaction of building, and the fun of playing.
The centre of the flower and the sprouting bud show the Happy Sleepy character we invented to help us remember our freedom to choose at least an attitude to a life situation, ranging from happily proactive to sleepily accepting. Even that choice can be scary, and sometimes large, explosive amounts of bravery are needed just to get through the day!
Dates and Locations
The exhibition traveled throughout the disaster areas in Japan and was on display in various locations from August 2012 to January 2014. The exhibition is planned as a long term traveling show, for Canada in 2014 and is also planned for other international location.
Exhibitions in Japan 2012 – 2014
- Ryuichi Sakamoto Marche, Onagawa Temporary Housing, Miyagi, Japan
- Birdo Flugas, Minatomachi, Shiogama, Miyagi, Japan
- Hureai Yokocho temporary shopping street, and local mall, Ishinomaki, Japan, with support from Ishinomaki Nishi High School and Nagoya Zokei University students
- Minamimachi Cadocco, Kesennuma
- TOKYO SOURCE preview room
- Kofu Art Festival
- Hiyori Art Center, Ishinomaki
- Sagami Kazekko Children’s Outdoor Art Festival/Joshibi University Art Museum, Sagamihara
- Sakuradai Elementary School Museum, Sagamihara
- Maebashi Children’s Cultural Centre Seishin Kindergarten
- Enokojima Art
- Culture And Creative Center Osaka
- Onagawa Art Season, Japan
- Embassy of Canada in Japan
- Cambridge Galleries/Design at Riverside, Waterloo, Canada
Field Trip Project Participants
Project Curator: Daisuke Takeya
Project Coordinator: Chie Kajiwara
See the most up to date list on the Field Trip Project at DAICHI Projects.
Alex McLeod + Krystle Tabujara
Annie Onyi Cheung
Jenn E Norton
John McMinn + Melana Janzen
Marc Ngui + Magda Wojtyra
Matt Evans + Shinobu Akimoto
University of Waterloo School of Architecture
Yuuki means brave, courageous energy.
The kanji characters for the kind of courage we wanted to invoke, spiritual courage, are a combination of courage and qi (chi). The qi character, on the right, is composed of elements that mean rice exploding like a cloud, or into a cloud formation. The character for courage, on the left, is a combination of explosive strength and tendon. Together they underline courage as rooted in tenacity and exploding with power – explosive strength.
Touch the Art: Yuuki Flower Sculpture Assembly
The sculpture arrives at the display destination disassembled, all the quilted fabric leaves and wire supported bloom in a box together with the backpack and folding support structure. The backpack and the leaves have been fitted with velcro and ribbons and each installation is expected to be a little bit different.
Because touching art is usually forbidden for good reasons, people are sometimes shy touching interactive art, so we put together a photographic, step by step instructions booklet to show how to assemble and put away the sculpture. Download the Yuuki Flower Assembly PDF to check it out for yourself.