In 2009 the artist and designer Nao Morigo, after leaving her job at a women’s bags and accessories brand, took some time off and traveled the world. She collected all sorts of memorabilia on her trip from foreign newspapers and ads to magazines. But one observation that had a profound effect on her was the realization that the ocean, and all its treasures, connects the earth.
Two years later the traumatic earthquake and tsunami struck the Japanese region of Tohoku. And 5 years from then, Morigo has returned to the subject, looking at it face-to-face in a new series of miniature collages.
“The sea creates rainfall and brings water to us, nourishing us with minerals and seafood. The sea supports us through many ways and we would not be able to exist without it,” says Morigo. “That same sea is what took so many lives in the tsunami.”
The artist uses a wide range of multimedia – everything from snippets of foreign newspaper and magazine to nihonga materials like mineral pigments, powdered brass, powdered pearl, and copper powder – to create collages that illustrate the ocean that connects all. Indeed, the various pigments and languages that appear in each images only adds to a sense of being connected. It’s an important and vital message that helps counteract the violent and vitriolic tensions that threaten to tear us apart.
Although partially lost online, each of pieces are small and intimate, measuring 140 x 180 mm (5.5 x 7 in). They beckon us to lean in closely to observe the details.
Morigo received honorable mention in the 2016 Ronin | Globus Artist-in-Residence Program, for which Spoon & Tamago was a judge. The collages will be on display in the group exhibition “Contemporary Talents of Japan” from June 23 to July 30, 2016 at the Ronin Gallery in New York.