At Praise Shadows, Yuri Shimojo paintings give shape to lives lived and lost

Cate McQuaid, The Boston Globe, March 31, 2021

It’s impossible to comprehend the sheer numbers lost to COVID-19. Japanese painter Yuri Shimojo’s series “Memento Mori,” which meditates on losing individuals and multitudes, helps.


Shimojo made these paintings after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, which killed close to 16,000 people, and this is the first time they’ve been shown in the United States. She was already intimate with loss; everyone in her immediate family died before she was 30. Now she was overcome with the magnitude of it. A month after the disaster, the New York-based artist learned that cherry blossoms had bloomed in Fukushima. She began to paint single petals as a means of coping. Eventually, those accumulated into a large mandala painting, “Sakura,” the first in this series... 


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