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Yayoi Kusama is an iconic figure in contemporary art. A Japanese artist known as the “princess of polka dots,” Kusama is a multi-disciplinary creative who sculpts, paints and even dabbles in performance art. But pretty much all of her famous pieces include polka dots of some kind or another. She’s big on exploring interconnectedness and the universe and life as well as death.
“Our Earth is only one polka dot among a million stars in the cosmos. Polka dots are a way to infinity. When we obliterate nature and our bodies with polka dots, we become part of the unity of our environment,” she said. Exploring space with her larger-than-life pieces and vision, Kusama has become a household name.
Since last May, the Hong Kong art museum M+ has been exhibiting Kusama’s sprawling career in a show called “Yayoi Kusama: 1945 to Now.” It’s “the largest retrospective of the artist in Asia outside Japan.” This exhibit shows over 200 Kusama works, which include paintings, drawings, sculptures, installations and archival material. True to its title, some of the works are from before Kusama was even a professional artist, like some early sketches she made as a teenager during World War II. It’s organized in both chronological and thematic order so that visitors can really see how her art has evolved over the course of her career.
Now, M+ is giving away 10,000 tickets to this exhibition for free! The tickets will go to local students to help them learn to express mental health issues through art. M+ is working with “Shall We Talk,” a government initiative for mental health outreach, to get this workshop off the ground. It’s called “Shall We Talk at M+.”
“We are not therapists, we can’t necessarily help anyone in that sense, but we can help you to connect your own emotional expression to what you are experiencing,” says Keri Ryan, head curator for learning and interpretation at M+, to SCMP. “We can help people feel more comfortable expressing themselves through making art or walking through the exhibition.”