3-11-2011

March 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

Sorry for being MIA for a while. Everything was just crazy that I barely had time to even breathe. I know I should’ve written about this a while ago, and it may sound like a bunch of mumbling, but here it goes.

March 11 has passed, and the one year anniversary of the Earthquake/Tsunami came. I felt strange inside because I didn’t know if I should be happy or sad.

Happy: My whole outlook on life changed after I volunteered. I learned so much from that experience that I’ve been sharing my stories with others. This whole year I dedicated myself to Japan. I learned what it feels like to do something for others, and realize how it feels to be appreciated. I feel more connected to my roots now, and I’m very happy with where I am.

Sad: It took this disaster for me to realize everything. So many lives were lost, so many lives were destroyed. Was I selfish to “use” this experience to explore my identity? The disaster left so much damage that it’s not even close to what it used to be and so much cleaning/rebuilding needs to be done.

So March 10 was a strange day with all this confusion in my head. But all that cloudiness went away the next day.

On March 11, there was a Annual Remembrance Event of the Tsunami with a screening of the Academy Award Nominated documentary, “Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom”. I was fortunate enough to be asked to display my Thousand Cranes installation and share my photographs as well. I watched the documentary and I couldn’t help but cry at first. I saw the destruction that the tsunami caused on screen and I took it personal. The first time I saw it on the news, I was amazed of how powerful Mother Nature was. But it was still someone else’s problem. But after volunteering, after meeting the Ishinomaki locals, after moving bag after bag filled with the mud that was once at the bottom of the ocean… After all that, I was involved.

Though I was only there for 2 weeks, I put my all in it. It was hard work, but nothing compared to the people who’s been there from the start. They’re strong, and I’d be happy if I can be half as strong as them. While I volunteered, as a photographer, I wanted to take as many pictures as I could. But then again, this wasn’t a vacation, or sight-seeing. It was to assist with the aid of the relief. I was so focused on doing the tasks I was handed, that I forgot to take pictures first half of the trip. And after seeing the destruction, it was so much to take in that it was hard for me to get anything in the way from my own eyes. It sounds crazy that I’m saying this, but I didn’t want the lens to be in the way between me and Ishinomaki. But then, I wanted to bring back something to show my community of what was happening in Japan. I felt that it was my job to share it with the people who are in America. So towards the end, I started shooting.

Since I’ve been back to Arizona, I wondered what I could do here since I can’t physically be there to help Ishinomaki. And the only thing I know how to do well is art. I learned how to cyanotype in my Alternative Processes class with my teacher, Christopher Colville, and he helped me get my ideas together for my cranes. So for his class, I started making cyanotypes with feathers on tracing paper to make the design, and then folded cranes obsessively. Everyday, every night, every moment that I was awake. At the time, I didn’t know what it was for, but then eventually, I was deeply invested in it to give this as an offering for the people of Ishinomaki. I couldn’t have done it alone, I had my mom, my boyfriend Rex, my friend Ashley to help me fold. My 2 cats, Whiskers and Bailey stayed up late nights with me as I folded. I folded 1000 cyanotyped cranes and made an installation. My wish was for Japan’s good luck, good health, and recovery.

For the first time I had the opportunity to show it in my group BFA show, COOL. among my friends. And this exhibition lead me to Matsuri. And that lead me to the screening for the Tsunami & the Cherry Blossom.

I hope that Ishinomaki can feel the positive energy that I’m sending them. It may be little on a global scale, but I’m trying to spread the word out to everyone I know and everyone I can reach. All I want is good for Ishinomaki.

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