Today, Professor. Eriko Tomoda will hold her first solo exhibition in two years at Gallery Seek. We talked to her!
–It’s been almost two years since your last solo exhibition, have your feelings or works changed?
In the past year, we have been hit by the new coronavirus and have had to think about renewable energy as an issue close to home.
I have always placed my thoughts and prayers about nature at the core of my work, but now that I am more aware of this, I feel that I have a stronger thematic focus.
* (“renewable energy” broadly defined as all energy derived from solar, geophysical or biological sources and replenished by nature at a rate faster than it can be utilized. (e.g. solar, wind, etc.)
–What is the theme of this exhibition?
Last November, the first privately owned manned space rocket took off from the United States, marking a new step for mankind in the private sector’s participation in the space industry.
The following December, Hayabusa2 overcame many difficulties, brought back pieces of the asteroid to Earth, and left for a new planet.
2020The year 2006 was a year of major developments in human history, with the world at the mercy of the new coronavirus and a historic turning point in space exploration.
From the background of such current events, I would like to look at people’s feelings toward flowers and birds and the universe, which have remained unchanged in any age from the past to the future.
–Were you always interested in space?
I had a chance to learn about the Krudragon Resilience, on which Astronaut Noguchi flew, and the Hayabusa2 project.
Until then, I had only a vague image of space, but when I learned about the pure passion of scientists and engineers and the progress of space development, I became more familiar with space and began to imagine a future that would be very different.
At the same time, I have a strong desire to hold on to the same prayer for peace that we have held on to since ancient times, even in these changing times.
Until now, when I painted flowers and birds, my consciousness naturally turned to the past and present.
I think I became more conscious of the future because I was able to look at the universe.
I started to think that I wanted to paint works with an awareness of the time axis from the past to the future.
I was reminded once again that it is difficult to depict a universe that I have never been to, and in that sense, I think I found new challenges.
–He presented his work to Astronaut Noguchi.
Yes, I was born in Chigasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture, which is my hometown. Chigasaki City in Kanagawa Prefecture, which is my hometown, was originally Noguchi-san’s birthplace.
When Noguchi’s first space flight was decided, Chigasaki City organized a ceremonial event.
The city was inviting children to submit their paintings, and I, as a junior high school student, once entered one of the contests.
(Mr. Tomoda submitted a work when he was a junior high school student, “A Dream for the Universe.)
I decided to check my roots as a painter after I started working as a painter, and I contacted Chigasaki City Hall to learn what kind of work concepts I had submitted at the time, etc. It was more than 15 years ago, but if there were any records left, I would like to know.
Just two months later, we were about to hold an event to commemorate Mr. Noguchi’s third flight, and the episode of “a junior high school student who drew a picture on his first flight and became an artist” attracted attention, and we were invited to attend the event and present his work.
When I was in junior high school, I never thought I would become a painter, so when I think about it now, I feel that it is a strange fate.
The concept of both works is to depict a wish for the symbiosis of people and nature.
(Presentation work: “A Dream for the Universe)
–This time you also have a piece on Zuiju.
Yes, I do. Phantoms are not something we are deeply conscious of in our daily lives, but these are also symbols of awareness, beauty and prayer that can only be cultivated through long history.
I started to draw them because I wanted to feel the presence of such a being at every milestone.
For example, this work, “Mino Turtle”, has been described in various literary and artistic works since ancient times, and is considered to be a symbol of longevity and good fortune.
–Which of the films in this show do you particularly want people to see?
They’re all pieces that I have a lot of feelings about.
We would like you to see the works “Prayer Spinning” and “Resilience” in the DM, which is also the theme of this solo exhibition.
3The three streaks of light represent the past, present and future of a person’s thoughts and feelings.
Since ancient times, people have entrusted their thoughts and prayers to birds as guardians of good luck, bringing good omens.
I painted this work from the perspective of a person living in the present, thinking and praying for the past and the future.
This is a historical turning point in the private sector’s entry into space.
On November 16, 2020, NASA’s first commercial spacecraft, Crew Dragon, took off for the International Space Station.
The spacecraft, which took off in a year of global turmoil, was named “Resilience” to express “a prayer for resilience, flexibility and revival.
This piece was painted on the day of the Resilience’s departure.
I painted it while praying to be flexible to face the anxiety, fear and difficulties I feel living in the present. I painted this picture while praying to face up to the anxiety, fear, and difficulties I feel living in the present.
The crew of the Resilience are white, black, female and Asians, you can feel the diversity.
I thought it would be interesting to see how diverse the individuals’ backgrounds would make them. I drew a dragon born from the oriental thought.
It is said that a white dragon can fly faster than any other color dragon.
A dragon holding a jewel in its hand is often depicted as a subject.
There are various theories, but it is said that this is a dragon that was able to go to the heavenly realm and obtain a jewel. The dragon is said to be the dragon who was able to go to the heavenly realm and obtain the treasured gem.
In order to grab the treasure on the way to the destination, the dragon did not have anything in his hand. The dragon’s hands were not allowed to hold anything in order to grab the treasure on the road ahead.
And his expression is dignified and forward looking. I wanted to draw her as if she were clothed in calmness and suppleness.
–Is there anything new you want to try in the future?
I would like to continue to present works with clear themes, to write them down, and to refine the expression of my thoughts by developing my drawing skills and broadening my range of expression.
–Lastly, please give a message to everyone who will see your exhibition.
Thank you very much for coming in these times.
I often use the word “prayer”, and I paint with the sense of a very small wish that everyone has, such as “tomorrow will be a better day”.
We hope that you will be able to view the exhibition in this venue with as much peace of mind as possible.
Thank you, Professor. Tomoda!
The solo exhibition will be held from Friday, January 8 to Sunday, January 17.
Please take this opportunity to view over 10 of our newest works.
Previous interview is here↓.
Eriko Tomoda Japanese Painting Exhibition “Prayer Spinning
Friday, January 8 – Sunday, January 17
exhibiting artist：Eriko Tomoda
Artist Visits: Jan. 8 (Fri), 9 (Sat), 17 (Sun) 13:00-17:00
Eriko Tomoda depicts the shimmering of flowers and grasses and the lives of birds in the changing seasons. The Inshu Washi paper (traditional craft, designated as an intangible cultural property by Tottori Prefecture) that Tomoda uses in her works has been handed down to the present day after a lapse of some 1,300 years. In this exhibition, she will exhibit works that she painted while thinking about people’s wishes and prayers that have been spun from ancient times, to the present, and to the future. Since ancient times, human beings have held a sense of awe at nature, which is beyond human knowledge, and have used the twinkling stars to predict the future, and the moon floating in the dark night to express their various thoughts and feelings. We have been guided by the light of the heavens (the universe), which is beyond our reach, and we have prayed to it. Now, the distance between us and the universe has become shorter than ever before. And as we move into space, we would like to keep in mind the thoughts and prayers of people that will be passed down from generation to generation. Please take this opportunity to view my first solo exhibition at GallerySeek in two years.