The Japanese word for ‘home’ is ‘furusato’ – a concept 23-year-old emerging artist Yumemi Hiraki has struggled with for most of her life.
Currently in Warrnambool completing a three-month internship at the Warrnambool Art Gallery, the fine arts graduate said it is an element of her life that is constantly changing.
Born in Hiroshima and educated at an international school in Japan, Ms Hiraki has been living in Melbourne since 2008.
She recently moved to Warrnambool with partner Janaka Lovell while he completes his internship as a doctor at South West Healthcare.
“We are very lucky to have this opportunity,” she said. “I really love Warrnambool.”
Ms Hiraki is November’s Warrnambool Art Gallery ‘designer of the month’.
Her set of 10 circular glass sculptures are currently on display in the foyer of the city’s creative hub.
Formed using a process of hot glass casting, they consist of puddle-shaped layers of clear glass encasing a burnt piece of obi silk.
“Obi silk is the sash that wraps around the waist when wearing traditional kimonos,” Ms Hiraki said. “The fabric combusts when it makes contact with the molton glass, during which the second layer of glass is added.
“What remains are the charred remains of the obi within the glass structure.”
The obis used in Ms Hiraki’s pieces are donations from a kimono-wrapping class that her mother attends in Hiroshima.
“They are worn in weddings, or coming of age, or other traditional ceremonies,” she said.
The combination of traditional Japanese fabrics and hot-glass casting is a deliberate merger in her work.
“No matter how destructive and dangerous the process, the silk still remains,” she said. “It changes form but the fibre remains.
“It’s like my relationship to culture. My understanding of religion and culture is constantly changing.
“Some days I feel like I am in a strange cultural gap.
“My art gives me a chance to explore the overlapping layers of history, to fabric, to time and the action and residual representation process.”
Ms Hiraki’s exhibition, entitled Creases, will run until December.
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