In search of the meaning of our lives
I am an immigrant artist working in New York City. My main media are printmaking and artist’s books. It is nearly 16 years since I left my home country, Japan, and started working on the theme of keys. For me, keys are symbolic of identity and freedom. Over several years, I collected discarded keys in order to make etching plates. Eventually I completed a series of 365 different keys and backgrounds. If you ask me what it means, I would say: Every day, each of us is opening the door of an unknown world to search for the meaning of our life. Knowing the purpose of our life is noticing the existence of keys inside ourselves. We can choose how to use our keys in our lives.
The beginning of this project
Human relationships are my main subject and interest, and the problem of the Middle East has been my concern for a long time. In 2002, while traveling in India, I met Junko Hoki. She had studied political science, and we had deep discussions about social and political issues and what we can do about them. When she told me that some Palestinian refugees were holding on to the keys to the houses they used to live in, in their home towns, this project started to grow in my mind. Ten years later, this project is finally happening.
When Junko emailed me a few months ago to tell me that she will stay in Beirut only one more year, we decided to make our plan happen this May. May 14th is “Independence day for Israel.” a yearly remembrance of the day the Palestinians lost their land. It will be a very good time to hold our event.
We are planning to hold workshops in three different Palestinian refugee camps. The workshop will be titled “Making family album with your memories” The participants will be Palestinian and Lebanese families. After the workshops, we are planning to have a show of the participants’ works. I will exhibit my work about keys and will give an artist talk.
Junko is a coordinator for this project. We are looking for someone who can help her in Beirut.
Ghaby is a Palestinian journalist who made a documentary movie, Non ID, which we are also giving out as rewards to backers. Gaby will help publicize the workshops and exhibition.
Zico House is a private house that the owner, Zico, opens to the public for special events. Zico will provide the exhibition place and help publicize it.
This project was started without funding. It will be run mainly using self-paid expenses and volunteer activity. I will stay in Beirut for one month (May, 2011).
I would like to raise at least $1500 for air fare, transportation fees, and more for materials fees and advertisement. The fundraising is more than money. Backers are a very inportant part of this project. I want to connect with others so that we can grow up this project together. This project is just beginning . Please join us to be part of it and to share the experience!.
As a reward for contributors, I will make a piece with all backers’ and associates’ names. This piece will be hung in the gallery. I will also email you the image of the poster and a report about what happens at the workshops and the exhibit for bakers.
Other rewards include Gaby’s documentary movie,”Non ID”, T shirts on which is printed a poem by famous Palestinian poet Mahmond Darwich, and hand-made gifts from a Palestinian NGO. My original art work, key prints will be one of the gifts.
I am looking for ways to continue and expand my collaborations with different communities. There are no borders between people’s minds unless they think the borders exist.
I will update this proposal with more information as it becomes available. Thank you very much for your interest and support!
Outline of the Art Exhibition & Workshop with Yasuyo Tanaka Title of the Exhibition “In search for the meaning of our lives” Title of the Workshop “Making family album with your memories” Overview: Series of event, including art exhibitions, workshops, and artist talk will be held throughout the month of May to commemorate Nakba Day on May 15th, together with Palestinians, Lebanese and a Japanese artist Yasuyo Tanaka. The exhibition will start at Zico House, and then move to Burj el-Barajneh camp later.
Planned Events & Schedule:
May 1 (Sun) Yasuyo arriving in Beirut
May 8 (Sun) Burj el-Barajneh camp (9am-1pm) Family Album Workshop
May 9 (Mon) Zico House : Opening 6 pm
“In search for the meaning of our lives”
Family albums made by Palestinian & Lebanese families
Japanese Charity Dinner 8:30pm
To show solidarity to Japan after the earthquake
May14 (Sat) Zico House : Artist Talk with Palestinian & Lebanese artists
“ What does it mean to you to live outside of your motherland?
How does it affect to your life? ”
May 15 (Sun) Burj el-Barajneh camp:
Exhibition of Family albums made by people at workshop &
“In search for the meaning of our lives”
Shatila camp (9am-1pm) Family Album Workshop
Albums will be displayed at Burj el-Barajneh exhibition
May 22 (Sun) Mar Elias camp (9am-1pm) Family Album Workshop
Albums will be displayed at Burj el-Barajneh exhibition.
May 28 (Sat) Zico House (2pm~) Japanese binding Workshop
May 31 (Tue) Yasuyo leaving Beirut
Details of Workshops Palestinian Camps
1 family= 1 adult & 1 child (can be any combination in the family but with different generations. example: mother & child, grandpa & grandchild, aunt & niece) Palestinian & Lebanese families mixed, maximum 6 families (=12 people) per workshop People will bring their own family photos which tell their family history Making of family album with recycled paper 9am-1pm: introducing each other, making album, coffee break, designing of the album cover, lunch, discussion Purposes of this workshop: to learn technique of making an album, to strengthen communication within family by discussing about their own family history, to be proud of their own family and its history by presenting the album to others, to promote the communication between Palestinians and Lebanese while they work together by sharing a table.
Japanese binding workshop (2pm~) Anybody can participate (Palestinians, Lebanese, foreigners), maximum 10 people
- (49 days)