THE PROJECT: On March 26, 2011 I will be designing and producing a World Class Champion Heavyweight Sumo Wrestling piece that will be apart of the Gateway Japan exhibition at Torrance Art Museum. The difference of this wrestling match is the athletes will be fighting on a bed of clay which, privately afterwards, I will cast and the museum will show the artwork created from it.
As the tenth gallery/museum performance I have done in this manner, I am exhibiting the artistry of Sumo Wrestling on a gigantic 15 foot, 2 ton-bed of clay. The clay will capture the competitor’s impressions and I will be creating a sculptural relief painting of the fight, showing the impressions like a painting and tracing of the history in the fight.
THE GOAL: I am looking to this fundraiser to cover the expense of appearance and travel fees for these incredible performers. Without this help I will not be able to work with the incredible talent available to me through the California Sumo Association nor will I be able to make the sculptural relief painting in its entirety.
THE MONEY: I am setting my goal for $2500 which is approximately a third of the project's budget so any funds raised beyond that goal will help to make the sculptural relief painting in its entirety possible. The material fees to make this piece of art is incredibly high at this time as it is an oil-based material.
Typically in the case of funding limitations, I cast only a portion of the clay floor. Though this smaller relief is a fair representation of the performance, it does not show the full translation of the fight. I have done three projects where I cast the full performance, Collegiate-style Wrestling, Fencing and Tango dancing. The indexes of those poetic performances are impressive and far more communicative of the event than when I do a smaller portion.
THE PLAYERS: Working with the director, Andrew Freund, of the California Sumo Association http://www.usasumo.com/ussumoopen2010.html has afforded me the change to meet these competitors and take preliminary photographs. Freund would wager any odds that not one human being in the United States could defeat either of them in Sumo matches, even if given 10 opportunities. It's like everyone else is an elementary school level basketball player, and these guys are the equivalent of NBA stars.
The two possible competitors are Byambajav (Byamba) Ulambayar vs. Soslan Gagloev.
In his 5 years in professional sumo, Byamba moved up the ranks quickly, and was on pace to be at the very pinnacle of the sport, but he left early, due to injury. In international competition, Byamba may be the most decorated sumo competitor ever. He has won three World Sumo Champion titles, and has dominated almost every tournament he has entered.
Soslan entered pro sumo in Japan at age 17, and moved up the ranks incredibly quickly -- one of the fastest ever in pro sumo history, among thousands of great athletes. He reached almost the highest rank, before a politically motivated scandal forced him to leave the sport. He has begun fighting again and would be entering back into the Sumo community in this project, creating a bit of a Sumo coupe.
- (32 days)