The Kurumaya Museum of Art invited New York-based independent curator Machiko Harada to curate Mother/Land, a contemporary art exhibition that celebrates our 5th anniversary. Mother/Land features eight international artists whose work for this exhibition focuses on the relationship between land and people, reflecting the artists’ observations on displacement.
＿ Land, People, Agony, and Caring
Each of us has a motherland. However, we are not mindful of it in times of peace. It is a symbolic land, a shared imaginary place that forms part of our identity. In times of crisis, however, “motherland” helps bring together individuals experiencing the hardships of forced migration caused by human or ecological disasters, colonization, poverty, etc. This powerful concept provides the nation with a home, a site charged with sentimentalism and nostalgia.
When the East Japan Great Earthquake happened three years ago, the earthquake was immediately followed by a devastating tsunami and a nuclear power plant accident that took away lands and countless precious lives instantly, dislocating people and causing tremendous loss and pain. The numerous victims, as well as many others eager to get over this agony, quickly came together as a nation to address this crisis. This moment created an opportunity for us to think of our motherland anew. A spirit of community and national consciousness were awakened after a period of a rise in individualism. This sense of togetherness brought about a dedicated and creative approach to recovery. However, this sense of community has also brought about a rise in nationalism that has led to an increase in hatred and discrimination.
This exhibition breaks up the nationalist notion of motherland. The slash between mother and land signifies a rupture that forces us to reconsider their relationship by focusing on the nurturing of the land that is crucial to our survival. The artists included in the exhibition offer diverse perspectives on land, nature, memories, sustainability, globalism and the process of displacement, which is urgently relevant to our contemporary lives.