Sasuri Sasaki Hemann – Tidepools

 

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Sasuri Sasaki Hemann, Tidepools (2013)

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Sasuri Sasaki Hemann, Tidepools (detail) (2013)

In 2012 I had the pleasure of stumbling upon Sasuri Sasaki Hemann’s Urban Aquarium at the Portland International Airport. The large wall display of meticulously crafted, floating jellyfish and other undersea creatures was a very welcome respite and I spent a lovely half hour looking and watching others look. Now the jellyfish are back in a permanent exhibit in the international terminal. Tidepools is smaller and installed in a rectangular glass case on the floor. Hemann’s artist’s statement explains that, “Urban Aquarium explores the concept of being ‘out of context’ and ‘displaced.’” For me it was also an occasion to think about a beautiful and vulnerable undersea world that is at once close and far away. I remember seeing a young boy gaze at the jellyfish and ask his mother, “Is it real?” I wanted to say, “Yes!” – jellyfish are real and so too is the ability of art to prod us to see and think differently.

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