Saturday, February 08, 2014
After visiting the Sakima Art Museum in Okinawa I was consumed by a painting that is in their permanent collection, "The Battle of Okinawa." This painting was designed to show the horror of World War II in Okinawa, when the island was destroyed in a typhoon of steel. This painting was the height of the Museum and filled with imagery that intrigued, haunted and horrified. I knew I could never match up to the intensity of that image, but felt the need to try to create my own intervention.
After traveling and visiting Okinawa so many times in the past few years and seeing the way our tragic histories have given us similar difficult experiences, I wanted to build upon the intent of the original Battle of Okinawa painting, but also put my own wishful solidarity, in whatever form I could find it. I decided to try to paint an image that could combine the effects and impacts of World War II in both Guam and Okinawa. Being colonized and used as strategic bases as given us similar pasts and presents, but the wish for decolonization and justice could give us very different futures if we continue to fight and protest.
The image blends in some obvious and some less than obvious ways the experiences of those in Okinawa and Guam, pushed to the side when two great Empires transformed their homelands into battlegrounds.
Due to a lack of funds I was unable to exhibit the painting as part of a show and so I created a digital exhibit instead. It can be found at the following address: http://www.battleofguam.com
In the website you will find details of the painting as well as more information on Guam and Okinawa and their connections and wartime experiences.