Eight years ago today, a massive earthquake and tsunami struck the Tohoku region of Japan. The artist Fumiaki Aono was living in Sendai at the time and luckily his own home was sparred but other areas received significant damage.

found books morph into a drinking vessel in this piece created between 2014 – 2015

For the past 20 years Aono, as a practicing artist, had created assemblages and sculptures from broken and discarded objects that he collected. But when the tsunami ravished his stomping grounds, it forced him to crystallize his thinking. “The problem was not the disaster. It was how we were going to rebuild our lives afresh,” said Aono.

Post-disaster, Aono continued to create art but using objects collected from the wreckage. The idea of art as restoration grew to become a major theme in the Aono’s work. And it became more about the object and its past, rather than his own voice. Things from the past are very important and by coupling them with the new, we can preserve their history.

After the disaster we could not go back to everything new, says the artist. We have to carry the scars without forgetting the past.

found books morph into a bowl in this piece created between 2014 – 2015
a series of more recent sculptures, currently on view as part of Roppongi Crossing