Yuuki Flower for Field Trip Project Japan

Yuuki Flower with other art from the Field Trip Project on display in a temporary gallery made from shipping containers in Onagawa temporary housing, Miyagi, Japan.
Yuuki Flower by Marc Ngui + Magda Wojtyra (centre) with art by (left to right) Douglas Walker, Emelie Chhangur, Michael Toke, and David Trautrimas at Ryuichi Sakamoto Market in Onagawa temporary housing, Miyagi, Japan. Photo by Daisuke Takeya.

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

Pile of pink, red, blue, and black Japanese student backpacks
Pile of pink, red, blue, and black Japanese student backpacks donated to the Japan relief effort and then donated to the Field Trip Project.

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

Yuuki Flower detail of the sculpture
“Yuuki” means “spiritual bravery”.

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!

DAICHI Projects

The Field Trip Project is organized by DAICHI projects. Learn more on the project page: www.daichiprojects.org/en/fieldtripproject/

Yuuki Flower with Daisuke and Marc at Rosedale Park
Daisuke Takeya (of Daichi Projects) and Marc Ngui show off the Yuuki Flower sculpture components at Rosedale Park, Toronto, Canada.

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

Upcoming 2013

  • Culture And Creative Center Osaka
  • Onagawa Art Season, Japan

Upcoming 2014

  • Embassy of Canada in Japan
  • Cambridge Galleries/Design at Riverside, Waterloo, Canada
Field Trip Project at the Echigo Tsumari Triennale
Field Trip Project at the Echigo Tsumari Triennale, Iwama Satoshi’s area, Japan.

Field Trip Project Participants

Yuuki Flower
Yuuki Flower textile sculpture for the Field Trip Project

Project Curator: Daisuke Takeya
Project Coordinator: Chie Kajiwara

See the most up to date list on the Field Trip Project at DAICHI Projects.

Canadian Artists

Aleksandra Rdest
Alex McLeod + Krystle Tabujara
Annie Onyi Cheung
Atanas Bozdarov
Brett Despotovich
Camilla Singh
David Trautrimas
Dean Boldwin
Derek Liddington
Diane Borsato
Douglas Walker
Dyan Marie
Emelie Chhangur
Fiona Smyth
Hanna Hur
Jenn E Norton
Jérôme Havre
John McMinn + Melana Janzen
Johnson Ngo
Jon Sasaki
Josh Thorp
Juliana Pivato
Katie Bethune-Leamen
Marc Ngui + Magda Wojtyra
Matt Evans + Shinobu Akimoto
Michael Toke
Miles Collyer
Scott Rogers
Selena Lee
Shannon Cochrane
Tanya Reed
Tom Ngo
University of Waterloo School of Architecture
XXXX Collective

Yuuki means brave, courageous energy.

Yuuki Flower silk textile sculpture
Yuuki Flower, silk bloom detail, textile sculpture by Magda Wojtyra and Marc Ngui, 2012.xxx

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.

Amongst the leaves there is a new bud forming, a new source of courage. The bud is in the shape of a Happy Sleepy, our symbol of the freedom to choose at least an attitude to whatever life has in store for us. We always need a fresh source of courage, and this element is symbolic of the psychic resources that are always ours for the taking.


Textile leaves of the Yuuki Flower sculpture.
The leaves of the Yuuki Flower come in a variety of colours and textures, and also include blue air roots and squiggly tentacles. The profusion of detail creates a richness symbolic of the opportunity inherent in creativity.

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.

Download the Yuuki Flower Assembly PDF to check out lots of photos of all the different leaves, roots, and tentacles that go into the assembly of the sculpture. Be patient! The document is print quality, and worth the wait.

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.

Yuuki flower packed away in the box.
Yuuki Flower packed away in the box.
The backpack assembled on the aluminum poles and ready to receive the first leaves.
Showing the velcro attached inside all the compartments and pockets of the backpack.
Photo showing the inside of the backpack – velcro has been attached to the inside of every pocket and compartment.
The student schedule area in the backpack has velcro in it and leaves are attached under the plastic.
Leaves attached with black velcro to the area in the backpack that usually shows the student schedule.
A mint and green brocade leaf, a blue leaf, and yellow tentacles are attached at the beginning of an installation of the Yuuki Flower for the Field Trip Project exhibition.
The first leaves and tentacles are attached to the backpack.
The Yuuki Flower sculpture after the leaves are added and the flower head is still off.
The Yuuki Flower after all the leaves are added, just before the flower head goes on.
At the bottom of the box of components is the flower head itself, made of shiny pink silk and with a yellow, waterproof fabric centre.
Velcro and ribbons are used to attach the flower head to the top of the backpack sculpture.
The flower head is attached with velcro and ribbon to the top of the sculpture. The yellow pillow behind the flower keeps the flower in the right position.
The last step is placing the Happy Sleepy flower bud in amongst the leaves.

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