Ube, Japan Museum Installation
In 2009 I won an award in the Ube Tokiwa Museum’s 23rd International Biennale sculpture competition.
Ube was one of the first Japanese cities bombed in WWII. It had been the site of a large chemical plant. The city was totally demolished, and a lake was created where the chemical plant had been. During the rehabilitation period after WWII, the citizens of Ube created a campaign to beautify the area with greenery and flowers. The Tokiwa Museum was opened in 1961. A huge sculpture park around the lake was eventually created, and in 1963 the first Biennale was held. Originally known as the “Ube Exhibition of Outdoor Sculpture”, it was the very first large-scale sculpture exhibition ever held in Japan.
The award I received included travel costs, the cost of fabricating the sculpture, and a cash prize. I had built a 15″ aluminum model of the sculpture and traveled to Ube in 2009 to oversee the construction of the full scale piece in steel, which is 12′ x 9′ x 9′. When I arrived, I was greeted with polite shock by the museum officials, who had assumed until they set eyes on me that I was male. In the group of 39 artists selected for the show, I was the only woman. I later learned that among the many hundreds of artists included in the whole 23 year history of the show, I was one of exactly three women.