Obon is a site-specific, temporal,large-scale art installation created with 1000 floating leaves on an outdoor pond, which appear clear in daylight and emit a soft glow at night. “This piece is inspired by the ancient Japanese festival of Obon, a ceremony to honor and commemorate the departed. Obon is an ancient event, in which it is believed that during this 3 day ceremony the spirits of one’s departed family members and ancestors return to the home and are reunited with their loved ones, as lanterns are floated on rivers to guide the spirits back to the netherworld”
Ando’s intention is to communicate a poetic notion of interconnectivity and create an opportunity to quietly take notice of the beauty in nature and the universal transitoriness in life.
“Obon, a site-specific series that pays homage to the ancient Japanese ceremony of the same name. A annual ritual of remembrance, descendants of visiting spirits guide their deceased ancestors back to the netherworld by floating small paper boats containing lit candles. Ando initiated the latest edition last year, in collaboration with the Fist Art Foundation in Puerto Rico. Consisting of a thousand Bodhi leaf skeletons, each fragile entity was painstakingly hand-painted with phosphorescence and resin, and cast afloat on a pond. The leaves absorbed sunlight during the day, emitting an otherworldly glow later that evening when the showcase opened, allowing the haunting work to achieve a temporal synergy with its physical environment. “I wanted to connect this notion of memory together with the naturally occurring bioluminescence which Puerto Rico is known for,” says Ando.”
This is an ongoing public project, the artist has put forth six iterations of this project in varying places ranging from a Buddhist Temple in Korea, a memorial park in Connecticut, The Queens Museum in New York and on a pond in Puerto Rico. The artist plans to continue this project. Says Adele Chong of Surface Magazine: “The leaves absorbed sunlight during the day, emitting an otherworldly glow later that evening when the showcase opened, allowing the haunting work to achieve a temporal synergy with its physical environment.”
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