“Sakura 桜” implies Nirvana

Soon after the tsunami receded on March 11, 2011, leaving thousands dead and without homes, cherry trees began blossoming amid the debris. Sakura petals began to fall on the ravaged land and the striking sight inspired artist Yuri Shimojo to begin painting cherry blossom petals as a way to process her pain.

“Algae 藻” implies River Sanzu or River Styx

The repetitive act of painting flower petals became a form of ritual, akin to Buddhist monks counting each prayer bead. “By the time I stopped counting how many petals I had painted, I started to see each petal as a life. I conversed with each. I became them,” says Shimojo.

Titled Memento Mori, the series of paintings have expanded to include Algae, Vine and other motifs. Each is painted with Japanese ink on Indian Khadi handmade paper and forms the shape of a circle. They are on display starting today at Praise Shadows Gallery in Massachusetts and are on view through April 18, 2021.

“Hana (flower) 花” implies Birth

For the artist, Memento Mori represents the formidable power of nature, reminding humans of our tiny presence in the universe. But that power is also healing and resilient. As a body of work ten years in the making, Memento Mori will continue to blossom, helping us to recognize and embrace our place in the spiritual world.

“Vine 蔦”  implies Passage

“Universal Stain しみの宇宙” implies Itself or Yourself