March 13 - April 25, 2020
Art League Houston (ALH), a FotoFest 2020 Biennial Participating Space, is proud to present Hatsubon, an installation of work by Artist Tomiko Jones, based in Madison, Wisconsin. Selected by ALH’s Artist Advisory Board during the Open Call process, Hatsubon is a memorial exhibition exploring the dynamic tension between tradition and performance through photographs and objects. This body of work lives in the diaphanous space between life and death, and is a memorial for the artist’s father. The materiality of the works suggests the dualities of the fleeting and the lasting, the ephemeral and the corporeal, and the pendulous state between longing and release.
The ceremony of hatsubon marks the first anniversary of a loved one’s death, held during the yearly ritual of O-bon, a Japanese Buddhist custom honoring ancestors. A ritual for the deceased is the sending of a small vessel–shoryobune–to sea. Jones states, “My mother, sister and I all remembered the boat we used to send out when my sister and I were children. I made my own version by splitting, steaming, and bending bamboo into a boat form and skinning it with waxed kozo paper. Robed in simple cotton kimonos we sewed, the three of us sent the shoryobune at dawn from the shores of Hawai’i. The urn, a handcrafted wooden box, is seen in two images: on the shores of the Monongahela River, Pennsylvania and on the Pacific shore, Hawai’i. Hatsubon visits three geographic sites of significance: Pennsylvania, my father’s birthplace, Hawai’i, my mother’s birthplace and where he is buried, and California, where my parents met and my birthplace. Just a few days before my father passed away, an unforgettable conversation with him guided me to carve an oar from cherry wood.” The exhibition includes performative photographs printed on silk and paper made with a 4×5 film field camera, as well as portraits of the artist’s father made with a medium format Rolleiflex film camera. Hatsubon evidences how cultural customs, design, and materials are Jones’s creative methodology.
Opening: March 13, 2020 | 6–9 pm
Lecture: April 14, 2020 | 10:30–11 am
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