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Apr 16 2020

Yayoi Kusama Rallies World to Fight Covid-19

by Ashlyn Chak

YAYOI KUSAMA in her Tokyo studio in April, 2013, working on a painting from the series “My Eternal Soul.” Photo by Yuriko Nakao for ArtAsiaPacific.

In light of the novel coronavirus outbreak, the eccentric multimedia artist Yayoi Kusama, known for her employment of dot patterns, has published a poem addressed to the world to offer some much needed positivity and a sense of unity.

Among the many art and cultural activities put on hold because of the pandemic are a number of the 91-year-old’s exhibitions. “One with Eternity: Yayoi Kusama in the Hirshhorn Collection,” originally slated to open on April 4 at The Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C., was meant to debut the institution’s newest acquisitions by Kusama. The artist has also created four artworks for “KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature,” set to adorn the grounds of the New York Botanical Garden from May 9 until November 1. Both shows have been rescheduled for 2021.

Poetry and writing have been a longstanding interest of the artist, who has published several volumes including A Book of Poems and Paintings (1977). 

Here is Kusama’s message:

Today, with the world facing COVID-19, I feel the necessity to address it with this message.

A MESSAGE FROM YAYOI KUSAMA TO THE WHOLE WORLD

Though it glistens just out of reach, I continue to pray for hope to shine through
Its glimmer lighting our way
This long awaited great cosmic glow

Now that we find ourselves on the dark side of the world
The gods will be there to strengthen the hope we have spread throughout the universe

For those left behind, each person’s story and that of their loved ones
It is time to seek a hymn of love for our souls
In the midst of this historic menace, a brief burst of light points to the future
Let us joyfully sing this song of a splendid future
Let’s go

Embraced in deep love and the efforts of people all over the world
Now is the time to overcome, to bring peace
We gathered for love and I hope to fulfil that desire
The time has come to fight and overcome our unhappiness

To COVID-19 that stands in our way
I say Disappear from this earth
We shall fight
We shall fight this terrible monster

Now is the time for people all over the world to stand up
My deep gratitude goes to all those who are already fighting.

Revolutionist of the world by the Art
From Yayoi Kusama

Ashlyn Chak is an editorial intern of ArtAsiaPacific.

To read more of ArtAsiaPacific’s articles, visit our Digital Library.

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