by Patricia Frischer
Light After Dark at Engage Gallery: Walk through and panel
I was lucky enough to be part of the virtual walk through of Light After Dark with a video presentation about Kaori Fukuyama’s art and the building where the exhibition is housed. There was a live guided tour where Melissa Walter remoting was able to ask the videographer to show us specific aspects of the exhibition during the walk through but there were 2 other tours with their own "puppeteers.". The panel discussion afterward was a more general discussion about the pandemic because the beginning question from Aaron Martlage from Border UX strategy, design, architecture and development agency, the presenter was, “What is your darkest moment in 2020 and how did that affect your process. The last question, “Where do you personally find the light?” The artists agreed on many of these observations.
Kaori Fukuyama –
- At the beginning of the pandemic lockdown there was a lovely feeling of freedom with less pressure and no deadlines.
- Kaori needs solitude to connect to herself. But then a feeling of the prolonged unknown future took over. She was affected by the negative feelings from lots of hard luck stories she heard.
- Although she is working more, she is more aware of the need to make meaningful work.
- Looking at light itself, lights her up.
Melissa Walter -
- There are no distractions in isolation.
- She too, questions the role of art and wants to be able to concentrate on her role to promote anti-racism.
- Connection is a catalyst for ideas, and online talks and art tours have broadened her view.
- She is looking forward to developing a new language which focuses on the human experience.
- Birthing something out of nothing gives her great light and joy.
- Not being close to those who need us is sobering.
- Art is a coping mechanism which is a privilege and a burden. On good days it is empowering, but there are lots of bad days.
- To figure out the future, one needs silence and time. James Baldwin said, “The purpose of art is to lay bare the questions that have been hidden by the answers.”
- We must take advantage of what we have experienced but move forward into the light.
- There is lots of loss, from COVID but also from mental health issues as well.
- In her journals she is noticing how she has reacted to tough times and exploring how art can make others feel better.
- She was able to finished some long overdue projects, have time to grow, but short-term making masks made her feel useful.
- She is lit up by how artists support artists and how much the public supported artist with commissions and purchases.
- Although the pandemic causes a huge loss of opportunities it was a reminder of how important art is.
- There is lots of negative energy but he uses his art to let out those emotions.
- The challenge is to come to terms with not knowing.
- One of his goals is to work with a larger community in the future.
- The moment of discovery is when the light is emitted.