2014 / Elders’ memories inscribed at “Ruin Map,” Closing Sep 14 at JACCC, Little Tokyo

JACCC Kosaka Ruin Map

The Japanese American Cultural & Community Center in Los Angeles presents its newest exhibit “Ruin Map” by Hirokazu Kosaka at tis George J. Doizaki Gallery from Saturday, Aug. 23 – Sept. 14.

Gallery Hours are: Tuesday – Friday, 12 pm – 4 pm; Saturday – Sunday, 11 am – 4 pm; Closed on Mondays and holidays. Admission is free.

The opening reception will be held on August 23 from 1 pm – 3 pm.

For this exhibit, JACCC’s Artistic Director, Hirokazu Kosaka, has elders draw their childhood community which are then converted into woodcut prints that are displayed together, creating a giant terrain map of memories.

The “Ruin Map” exhibit will feature more than 100 woodblock prints.

The “Ruin Map” is based on a school assignment Kosaka worked on in his third grade class more than fifty-five years ago in Japan.

His teacher received over thirty maps from the class and pasted them all onto the blackboard. Some of the drawings dated back more than sixty years earlier. Kosaka noticed how the landscape had changed, especially that many of the trees and buildings were no longer there.

For the “Ruin Map” project, Kosaka invites a group of elders from the Los Angeles Little Tokyo community to do the same.

These drawings are transformed into woodcut prints that are displayed together, becoming a giant map of the terrain containing memories both shared and intensely personal.

The entire process of making “Ruin Map” is being documented, from the drawing session and conversation to the cutting of woodblocks and printing the images to paper.

Every step is an elaborated project in itself.  The collaboration between the artist and master printer to the paper maker are all part of the process that resonates with memories of elders.

Kosaka says, “Cutting onto the surface of wood is similar to the way these memories were ingrained in these people’s minds.”

The final product shall be displayed in restaurants, banks, temples, churches, bars, and retirement homes in and around Little Tokyo.

“It’s not my work, but the work of community people,” Kosaka insists. “Let them see it in the place where they eat and go to church – where they live.”

This project was made possible by support from Metabolic Studio of the Annenberg Foundation.

The Japanese American Cultural & Community Center is located at 244 South San Pedro Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012. www.jaccc.org

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The Ruin Map is based on a school assignment that Hirokazu Kosaka worked on in his third grade class more than sixty years ago. For the project, Kosaka asks elders to draw a map from the childhood memory of their hometown.

In this “Ruin Map” project, Kosaka returns to the school assignment and invites a group of elders from the Los Angeles Little Tokyo community to join him.

These drawings are transformed into woodcut prints and covered with poppy seeds creating a giant map of the terrain of memories both shared and intensely personal.

Carved into woodblocks – the process suggests the action of memory on the brain. These are the sheets that hang from the ceiling. Over time, poppy seeds slowly rain down to the gallery floor as they detach themselves from the prints.

The materials used in Ruin Map are common but each has a particular lineage. The paper was handmade from the plant fibers in Shikoku Island, Japan, Black ink (sumi) was made from the soot of burning sesame seeds. The poppy seeds adhering to the paper’s surface refer to a Sanskrit word Kalpa.

Kalpa means aeon – a long period of time. To take account of kalpa, a huge empty cube measuring 17 miles on each side is formed at the beginning. Once every 100 years a tiny poppy seed is placed in the cube until it is filled, the time take to fill the cube is still no Kalpa.

In another account, once every 100 years, an Angel comes down from heaven and swipe the surface of a stone measuring seventeen miles long with her silk sleeves.

Approach and Observation builds a symbolic parallel bewteen kalpa and inevitable passage of time that slowly transforms our lives. Our histories. Our memories.

Acknowledgements:

Woodblock prints printed by Alex Fridrich and Christian Ward at the Angel Gate Cultural Center, San Pedro, California.

Paper: KH-61 Kozo Natural mulberry (25” x 38”) made by Mr. Yuki Morita, Kochi city, Japan.

Summer interns: Raymond Cho, Kevin Lee, Francis Sugita, Ciana Lee

Photographer by Kevin Reeve

Keiro Senior HealthCare

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