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a non-profit gallery for the visual and performing arts

Temporary adddress:
2101 Maywill St., Richmond, VA 23230
Currently open by appointment only
artspaceorg@gmail.com | (804) 232-6464

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May 25 - June 17, 2018

Miya Hannan – "Linkages"

Installation, Sculpture and Drawings
Main Gallery

Closing Artist Talk
Sunday, June 17, 2018
2:00 pm
Free and Open to the Public

RVA Mag, May 24, 2018
Artist Miya Hannan Explores Japanese Death Rituals and More in Artspace Exhibit, "Linkages" - By

Artist Statement

Our society values youth more than age and progress more than tradition, resulting in death being treated as taboo. The source of my art practice goes back to my experiences working within the medical field in Japan. While interacting with patients for seven years, I was left with many unanswered questions about the connections between birth and death. How do people in various cultures deal with this difficult topic? Over time, I came to view the world as layers and linkages. Influenced by archaeology and Buddhist philosophy, as well as by scientific knowledge, my installations, sculptures, and drawings represent my understanding of the importance of accepting death on a larger level.

I view our would as a chain of lives and events that leads from one to the next. The use of repeated or layered elements such as anatomical shapes, people's names, and genetic elements depicts this in my artwork. Millions of creatures and human beings have come and gone over time, becoming a part of the layers of the land. Scientists believe that all these stratums are linked, telling us the stories of who we are and where we come from. I feel the same drive that scientists do, to look for the missing links between stratum. I gradually realized this idea of linkages as I grew up in Japan and studied Science. In Japan, the souls of the dead keep living, the spirits of nature exist, and land retains its destiny. People inherit the histories of the land where they live. I am interested in the relationship between humanity and information trapped in nature.

Materials that echo the temporal and fragile nature of physical bodies drives my imagination. Bone ash, which often appears in my artwork, is an especially meaningful material, since it represents Japanese rituals. The Japanese highly respect ancestors' bone ashes because they believe ancestor worship brings them happiness. Even though my scientific background might lead me to doubt these superstitions, I have never questioned my respect for my ancestors. The dead stay with the living as a form of memory, story, knowledge, and genetic codes. Every dead person, in some way, exists around us, creating layers of rich histories that also enhance people's lives. Through the use of negative space and lists of names, I express the positive impact of the dead on the living.

I was a scientist in a country with many superstitions, giving me the ability to perceive the world from two contrasting perspectives. In my artwork, I am interested in creating the unity of opposites that constitutes our world. Scientific and nonscientific, silent and communicative, still and active – these are the dichotomies that inform my work. I present my view of death as another form of being alive.

More at www.miyahannan.com

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Page Updated May 28, 2018