Digital Design Professor Naomi Kasumi created “MEM: memory • memorial no. 7 scriptorium,” now on exhibit at the Asian Centre, University of British Columbia. The exhibit consists of 9 tapestry-like books with 9 stories. Each panel creates a book out of 108 encaustic cards embedded with Japanese sutra calligraphy, digital images, Xerox images, personal writings, maple leaves, plants, and butterfly wings.
The books were colored with natural tea dye and bee’s wax. In order to produce the pages in the book, Kasumi collected nearly 3,000 used tea bags over several years. After layering the variously hued tea bag “papers” into one page, she used white cotton thread to bind the pages together using over 5,000 stitches and knots.
“The Asian Centre at UBC is one of the most beautiful buildings where I have exhibited my work,” said Kasumi. “The building was a part of Japan Expo held in 1970 near my hometown, Osaka, and imported from Japan after the expo. I was asked to install my art work in a large glass case in the centre’s lobby. It's quite interesting experience to install art work in a “fish bowl” environment, but working with any space is the most exciting thing as an installation artist.”
“MEM: memory • memorial no. 7 scriptorium” is on exhibit through May 30. Details here.
The installation was made possible thanks to the support of the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies and the Peking University Institute for the Study of Buddhist Texts and Arts, and through collaboration with the UBC Centre for Japanese Research, Department of Asian Studies, and the Asian Library.
Kasumi, who received her MFA from the University of Oregon, joined the faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences in 2003. Her work has been exhibited throughout the world. In October 2015, she completed “Sarit: Flow of Compassion” at Soji-ji Temple in Yokohama in commemoration of the 650th anniversary of Daihonzan Soji-ji’s Second Abbot, Gasan Joseki Zenji. An article and video about that project are at this link.