Collaboration Update #2


Starting a new project is so very hard. And so very exhilarating. All those stories and ideas and research make the beginning the best, resplendent with potential.

Our first two questions right now are: 1) who is this for, and 2) what is the single idea closest to our hearts. So daunting. So exciting. ’Til next time then.

Photo of an office worker buried in a Humongous pile of papers at her desk.
Photo of a cupcake display cake arrayed with dozens of colourful and delicious cupcakes.


Photo of Lillian's artwork entitled "Sticky Rice 22,000" mixed media drawing on shoji paper, 39" x 180"  A symbolic pilgramage of the forced relocation across Canada, each grain of rice representing a Japanese Canadian.
STICKY RICE 22,000: out of the darkness into the darkness is a mixed media drawing on shoji paper, 39” x 180”, a symbolic pilgrimage of the forced location across Canada, each grain of rice representing a Japanese Canadian. There are scattered grains along the journey representing those who were lost along the way. I am glad that I was able to show it at least one time and see it on the wall. The text reads: “my father said: you should not waste a single grain of rice” 

I shared with Michael, several creative attempts over a decade to tell the story of my family’s forced relocation from their home in Vancouver in WWII, through the eyes of the women in my family for three generations – Issei, Nisei and Sansei. As Michael pointed out, the most difficult part of this project is choosing the story to tell and the audience. I have a tendency to think laterally and ideas just pop into my head. It’s great to have a partner who helps me focus on one part of the story which becomes, in his words, “a voyage of discovery and revelation.  

Photo of a sketch of Lillian's new piece entitled "Between Despair and Hope. BEHOLD THE BLACK RAIN" which addresses the world's environmental crisis and nuclear testing.
Currently I am developing artwork for an environmental crisis inititiative LETTERS TO THE EARTH: Between Despair and Hope.  BEHOLD THE BLACK RAIN is in the sketchbook stage. Since the bombing of Hiroshima, many countries have continued nuclear testing – over 500. Everything on the earth is affected by the fallout – all living creatures, everything we eat, everything we touch. This installation will consist of thousands of strands of washi yarn, recalling the devastation in two large cities in Japan. Nagasaki is located very close to Kumamoto, where my family came from. 

Very recently, I discovered lost threads between my mother and her best friend, Miori, and neighbour on Cordova Street. Completely by happenstance! I had also created an accordion book, LETTERS FROM JAPAN, communication between my Canadian-born mother and her sister who was deported to Japan with her Japanese National husband in 1946. This could be the starting point of a search for lost friends, lost family connections, lost years. Either story, told from my point of view as one who had never experienced the hardship personally, would provide an intriguing storyline of mystery and resolution. I have two cousins left who returned to Vancouver after living through post-war Japan. I could ask them to give me details. I discovered that Miori has a daughter living in Montreal. I am sure she could tell me about her mother after relocation. 

Most of my work in the past had been educational. But my current artworks are becoming more abstract and conceptual.